‘Planet Plentiful’, that’s where we live these days, surrounded by an abundance of food which is unparalleled! So, how on earth do we survive without gaining weight, when, for most of us diets and many healthy eating programmes only make us crave food?
Firstly, let’s get one thing straight a dieting mindset where we label food as ‘good’, or ‘bad’, really is a…
The reality is that living with such a mindset sets up a pattern of behaviour that swings from food obsession to comfort eating, guilt and shame. You are definitely NOT weak willed, undisciplined or a failure if you have not managed to lose weight permanently using this mindset. It is human nature to crave whatever you make scarce in your mind or life and so, as a means of surviving on ‘Planet Plentiful’ this ‘Scarcity Mindset’ is failing us!
This ‘Scarcity Mindset’ is therefore clearly not working as a means of preventing or reducing the problems of long-term weight gain. A complete mind-shift is needed that links mind, body and spirit in balance with nature and food – an ‘Abundance’ mindset; in other words a return to healthy eating patterns; the way we viewed and used food before the days of ‘Planet Plentiful’ and the emergence of the dieting ‘Scarcity Mindset’.
Trapped in this negative mindset of ‘Scarcity’, brought about by the way we see some foods as ‘bad’, we crave what we restrict and make scarce. Inevitably we lose the ability to see food as a friend. After all it is just the fuel on which to run our bodies! Surrounded by so much abundance it is easy to see why we have switched off our fuel gages in favour of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with food, often allowing the tank to overflow.
When we are in a ‘Scarcity Mindset’, we actually give away much of our personal power. This is a power created from making our own choices and decisions. We switch off our link between mind and body. Much more damaging than all this, however, we take our focus away from the joy and beauty of living life to the full. By doing this we replace our focus with fear, guilt and shame – the emotional turmoil of the dieter that further fuels stress and anxiety. Caught in this trap we eventually rebel against control and criticism. This leads to that familiar place of comfort eating, where we try and dispel the stresses caused, more often than not, by the ‘Scarcity Mindset’ itself!
Some time ago I was on holiday with a friend who had never dieted in her life. As we sat in the hotel restaurant some fellow guests stopped at our table to discuss the fantastic spread of food available to us. On extolling the virtues of the dessert section they asked inquisitively “Aren’t you having one?” To our reply of “No, actually we are full”. They retorted with the much used, “Aren’t you being good!” My friend was amazed as, believe it or not, this had never been said to her before. What followed was an interesting discussion about the differences in how food is viewed, by non-dieters as opposed to dieters.
So, what is it that they do differently from us? Firstly, they see food in all its abundance as a source of fuel. This gives them the advantage over a dieting mindset, as they have no reason to crave food. Because they can have anything they want, at any time they like craving is an anomaly to them.
Of course, there is more to it than that. They do not use food as a comforter when stressed or unhappy. They don’t spend serious amounts of the day thinking about food as they usually have far more interesting things to fill their time. They don’t usually eat unless they are hungry. They do not take notice of peer pressure about size, shape or weight. They eat food that suits their body. They eat only until they are full and have the ability to leave food on their plate. In fact, they view food in a totally different way to us, from an ‘Abundance Mindset’. They have retained their ability to be in tune with their body – nurture and nature working together in harmony. How refreshing!
And what do we do when confronted by this somewhat rare breed of people? We express our jealousy. Well them how unfair it is. We defend our ‘corner’ by talking about how hard we have to try to loose weight. We avoid them because they make us feel bad. Then we give up on our diet or try even harder, only to rebel when the cravings eventually get to us.
I really think it is time to do things differently – flip that coin on its head – and learn from the ‘Abundance’ mindset of the non-dieter; after all isn’t it easier to go with the flow of nature instead of against it? When we open up our choices, really listen to our body and eat without under or overfilling our ‘tank’, we discover not only a love of food that is quite surprising. We also discover how easy it is to loose weight and maintain the loss, the more we practice ‘Living in Abundance’.
© Chrissie Webber 2008