Who's in Charge?

There is a school of thought that believes we function from one of three ego states:  the child, the parent, the adult.  In our interactions with others and things we take on of these roles and act according to it's rules.  You can see what state you are in based on your voice, words you use, views, etc.  I like to use this concept when thinking about people's relationship with food.  When you stop and think about how you are feeling, reacting, behaving in relation to food you can discover if you are being the child, the parent or the adult.  

Let me give you an example.  Let's say you are hungry and it's not lunchtime yet, so you say to yourself "I shouldn't be hungry.  You can't eat yet."  Well this would be the parent state taking charge. It tends to sound more punitive and rule driven.  Here's another example.  You are at a party and they have a dessert buffet which looks amazing.  You badly want a brownie, but the diet, restrictive thoughts start running through your head.  You say "F*ck it, I can do what I want!" and have 3 brownies which leaves you overly full.  This is the child state leading the way.  It is more rebellious, reactive and implusive.  

So what does the adult voice sound like? Pretend you are out to dinner with friends, you have a drink, a few bites of an appetizer and it's time to order entrees.  You still feel pretty hungry, as you haven't eaten much during the say and the appetizer wasn't very filling.  There are a few items that sound appealing, but tend to give you some digestive issues and then there is the "healthy section" of the menu that seems sensible, but those dishes usually aren't super tasty. Plus you are thinking, "I'm out at a nice restaurant I've never been too, I want something yummy and full of flavor."  You pick an entree that is new to you, doesn't seem to have ingredients that will cause you digestive distress and it's not too heavy.  This is called the adult state taking charge.  The adult state considers what is best for you and is flexible at the same time.  The adult voice encourages you to trust yourself with food and honor your health at the same time.  

Why am I sharing this concept with you? Because I think it can help you get more insight into your behaviors.  When you understand you have a relationship with food and can get clear on how you relate to it, you can begin making lasting change.  You don't need a diet, you need awareness, self trust, and a desire to be healthy (physically and mentally).  Diets force you into the child and parent states, forever pushing rules onto you and nudging you to rebel.  The adult state is where your Intuitive Eater lives.  It tells you to honor your hunger, respect your fullness, eat foods you enjoy & that make you feel good, move your body for health, set boundaries with people, and take care of yourself.  

To get off the dieting, self-hatred, body bashing bandwagon you must put your adult state in charge!

Want more info on how to break the unhealthy cycle of dieting so you can live a healthy, happy, diet-free life? Check out the book Intuitive Eating or join our next Intuitive Eating meeting.

FYI...more details on this topic in chapter 8 of Intuitive Eating.