How to be an Intuitive Eater When You Work in an Office Drowning in Diet Culture
You walk into your office, lunch packed. You open up the fridge to stick your lunch in there and see everyones diet-approved meals. Your co-worker, who sits next to you, shares how her diet is going.
She shares how she can only eat 27 almonds, because that’s what one serving is, and how she can’t believe that she used to be so out of control around almonds.
She laments about how bad she was over the holidays and that left to her own, she would just devour everything. A diet is really good for her, she says. She’s so much happier.
Cue, you feeling like crap and wondering if you should be on a diet too.
Are you out of control? How many almonds do you eat, in one serving? Should you have rules, structure, and guidelines around your eating? Would you be happier? Are you the ONLY one not dieting?
I hear you my friend. Loud and clear. This is diet culture. And hey, as I say this, I feel like I need to preface with: when I talk to my clients, we rarely talk about “diet culture.” Instead, we just talk about them. We talk about how they’re doing, how they’re feeling, and what’s important to them. We always bring it back to them.
I want you to imagine that you’re holding a flashlight. You’re holding it next to your chest, with the light shining out. The light is shining on and highlighting everything and everyone around you. Your focus is outward.
Now I want you to imagine that with this stance, you’re “shining the light” on what everyone else is doing. What is “working” for them (more on diets “working” in a moment). When we position ourselves this way, we live in a world of comparison.
How much is she eating? What size is she? What’s normal? What did she order? Is she finishing her plate? Or asking for a to-go box? Should I finish my plate?
When we have our light pointed toward others, it’s so hard to notice what’s going on inside of ourselves.
You might wonder if you’re out of control around food, even though you’re not, just because your friend says she is out of control.
Let me tell you, you’re not out of control around food. And if your behaviors make you believe that you *are* then another diet is not the answer. You’re feeling out of control around food because of food restrictions. The answer is not more food restriction.
The best thing you could do for yourself is learn how to tune-IN to your body and your needs. Learn how to turn that metaphorical flashlight back toward yourself and notice what’s going on in you. Notice what needs attention within you.
Your body knows what you need. Your body knows what does and doesn’t feel good for her. She’s trying to talk to you, the question is: are you willing to listen?
Earlier, when I mentioned a diet “working” for your co-worker, I said I’d explain. Typically, when we’re tempted to diet it’s because we’re only looking at the highlights of a diet.
It’s sort of liking looking at Instagram to get a whole picture of your friends life. You just can’t. Instagram is currated – we all get to pick and choose what we share. Even if you follow someone who is authentic on Insta, they still get to pick and choose. You don’t get to see the whole picture.
Same with a diet. You might hear that someone you know has lost weight on a diet, but that is only a tiny portion of the whole picture. How long have they been dieting? What does it take for them to diet? Do they feel restricted? Are they obsessed? Are they actually happier? Is their diet sustainable? What happens when they go back to eating a less restricted diet? Will they gain weight? How will that make them feel?
Also, remember these things:
- dieting actually increases risk of more weight gain (it’s not a legit way to lose weight long-term. If you’re over your bodies natural weight – intuitive eating is still the way to go, even when you have weight to lose)
- dieting makes you focus more on food; it’s just like anything when we’re told “no” or something is taken away from us – it heightens our focus when really, we want to be more calm around food
- dieting really isn’t fun! Most people enjoy the planning stage and thinking about going on a diet – they get all full of hope. When the diet starts, within a few days you’re pissed and hungry from the deprivation
If you resonate with this, if you’d like to take a new/different approach to your health and learn to listen to the cues that your body is sending you, if you’d like a little bit of help in getting there, I’d encourage you to check-out working with me one on one (here) or joining my monthly group coaching membership, The Growth Vault (here).
In fact, this week in The Growth Vault we’re starting the book Intuitive Eating, together and will be breaking down each principle so that every woman in the group feels completely comfortable applying the principles of Intuitive Eating to her own life.
To end, if you work in an office where there is diet culture all around you, remember to shine that flashlight back at yourself. Remember to quiet the outside noise, and tune-IN to the inside voice. What is your body trying to tell you? How do you want to feel? How can you honor her?
And get support if you need any help! Coaching is an amazing companion to learning to return to your natural ability to eat intuitively. Connect with me here or join The Intuitive Living Growth Vault here.