Counselling support for eating disorders and body image.
Rethink your body
To get the freedom to live the life you want
Mind over matter. Food as friend or foe?
by Christina Reitter-de Buchet on December 8th, 2015

A guest post this week from Christina Reitter-de Buchet of Nutrition Coaching, London

 ​​Every time I open a newspaper, fashion magazine, or my Facebook page, it seems that we have found the perfect new diet; low-carb, clean eating, 5:2, Paleo, vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan, low-fat, omnivore etc. One week, carbs are demonized, the next it’s read meat or butter or coffee. Working extensively with eating disorders and studying the mind-body connection, I am convinced that it’s not all about the food, but also about our thoughts about that food. Call it the placebo effect of food.
 
Foods will have the effect on our body that we attribute to them – if we think we’re eating something healthy, it will have a positive effect on our body, if we think we’re eating something “bad” or too much, it’s the thought that produces the negative consequences, not just the food itself. We all know someone who can eat what they like and not gain weight. Or someone who drinks 6 cups of coffee a day and not suffer for it. Some people swear by their vegan diets, others happily eat meat. It has even been observed, that people who change their diet to a healthy diet and then eat something they deem “unhealthy” will then become ill, even though they ate that food previously without any adverse effects.
 
French ladies are admired for maintaining their petite figures even though they eat baguette, croissants and read meat and drink coffee and wine!
 
Some people thrive on very little amounts of food (not starving themselves) and others need and eat much more. We attribute that to the fact that we are all genetically different and therefore have very different needs in terms of food and quantities. I agree with that but would add that our thoughts switch our genes on or off and therefore the power ultimately lies with our thoughts.
 
Even the often-observed “fat” feelings in my clients are completely unrelated to their weight, but 100% related to their thoughts. They stem from thoughts such as “I ate something I shouldn’t have”, “I ate too much” or “I didn’t go to the gym”.
 
So, if we want to find the “perfect” diet, we have to stop looking for it in magazines, books or online, but instead re-discover the healthy relationship to food that we ALL had as a child. Young children don’t know which foods are good or bad, and if their carers don’t intervene, children will naturally choose a very varied and healthy diet. Children are also very good at tuning into their feelings of satiety and hunger. It never seizes to amaze me that children can stop eating in mid-spoonful. And every mother can relate to the experience of trying to force her baby to drink just a little bit more milk and being met with complete resistance.
 
We can re-learn this way of eating by learning to really tune into our bodies. That means that sometimes we crave cake and sometimes we crave a green salad. Some days we’re hungrier and need more food and some days we’re not interested in food. Some days three meals work well, other days it’s all-day grazing. 
 
All this is easier said than done. If you’re struggling to make these adjustments to your eating right now and feeling stuck in your search for the “perfect” diet, then maybe counseling is the answer. Ultimately, it’s about changing our thoughts, not our diet.
 
 
Christina de Buchet is an eating disorders counsellor working privately in West London. Nutrition Coaching, London


Posted in Dieting, Eating, Giving up dieting, Hunger, Motivation and change, Thoughts, Weight    Tagged with mindful eating, Eating Disorder, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, hunger, thoughts about food, thinking


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Counselling support for eating disorders and body image.