So we know that Chatty Kathy is the chief of my food police, in keeping with Tribole and Resch’s Intuitive Eating model, I know that I also have a diet rebel (sort of the James Dean of dieting) and a nutrition informant (Ms. Tattletale). So let’s look a bit closer at how each operate.
Kathy does such a good job of telling me the rules. It’s not time to eat. Better not eat that… You shouldn’t have eaten all of that. She is so good at keeping track of everything I do related to food and she is fed by articles I read, things I see on television, things others say, Facebook posts, etc. She must be helpful in some way…Nope. There is nothing Kathy has to offer that is good. What I CAN do is learn to identify her voice and then both challenge her power over me and loosen the control I have allowed her.
My nutrition informant (Ms. Tattletail) is not currently helping. She urges me to read labels and to use that information to keep my eating in line with dieting. She has a habit of putting her efforts together with Kathy and promoting dieting under the guise of healthful eating. It’s harder to tell when she is around because her advice sounds good, sounds healthy. For example, I may choose to have a snack that Ms. Tattletail endorses as healthy. However, if the snack is not substantial enough and I am hungry again in a short period of time, I get the message that I shouldn’t be hungry – I recently ate a snack. If, instead, I listen to my hunger and my body, I may find that I only took in enough energy (or calories) to last an hour or two and my hunger is very reasonable. Ms. Tattletail, unlike Kathy, can be helpful. That is, if I can separate her from Kathy. Alone, she can help me make good choices based on the relative value of two similar foods (example – all things being equal, including taste, choosing the one with less fat or more protein or fewer unnatural ingredients). In this role, she is no longer a tattletail and instead becomes Ms. Ally.
Lastly, there is James Dean (the diet rebel). I don’t want to! I’ll show you! Wait until I am alone! Mr. Dean comes from all of the messages I have gotten from Chatty Kathy (and many other sources) related to what I should not, must not, and cannot eat or do. He is the source of sneak eating, bingeing, unintended weight gain. He is very destructive. He comes from a place of anger, denial, powerlessness, and perceived lack of autonomy and he is fueled by Chatty Kathy. So how can he possibly be helpful? That assertiveness and passion can be channeled into protecting my boundaries, my ability to make choices without others’ judgments, and my efforts to love myself for who I am. In this way, he becomes the border patrol of my eating space – my hero.
Together, Ms. Nutrition Ally and my border patrol join with the food anthropologist (Dr. Watson), the nurturer (Gramma), and the intuitive eater (me) to form a powerful union that can fight Chatty Kathy, history, and societal pressures. Think of them as my intuitive eating superheroes.