When I was a little girl my mother gave me a Superman sweatshirt and told me it was for Super Sarah. I knew it was a Superman top but I loved that I could think of myself as Super Sarah. I ran outside and raced on my banana seat bike and made houses out of moving boxes. I was Super Sarah for a while. But as I grew up I started listening to society with its crazy rules of how I was supposed to be super. In the process I lost Sarah.
I took super to the level of perfection. I wanted to be first, best, nicest, and smartest. Anything less than best would make me feel terrible. I thought if I just tried a bit harder I would be “better”. I was a rule follower. Or at least tried to be. Every once in a while I would live on the edge and maybe j-walk if I was feeling feisty. Thank goodness I finally started to grow out of it (this took many, many years). Being super and best was exhausting and also it just wasn’t me. I started to see that some rules were silly, too restrictive, and not necessary. Being super didn’t require a trophy. Being ME was more important. Maybe I think it is OK to be sexy and not a size 6. Maybe I think I shouldn’t be judged as wrong for eating chocolate cake when I am a dietitian. Maybe I want to eat green beans for breakfast?
One thing I really like about Intuitive Eating is that you stop listening to what a piece of paper, a book, or society tells you to do. You learn to live in your own body. You listen to what it tells you. You learn to trust yourself. You get back to YOU. Even better, intuitive eating (IE) isn’t about having to do it “right”. It isn’t a program you are good or bad at. You don’t succeed or fail when you learn about yourself. You also use your “mistakes” to move you towards your goal. In fact, mistakes can be just as good as your “accomplishments” in helping you learn how to move forward. You learn to let go of perfection.
We are so much more than our weight. Who says our size makes us less? Why do we have to not shine and feel beautiful since we aren’t at our goal. I can still love, and laugh, and enjoy a beautiful day. I can show who I am on the inside even if the outside isn’t society’s idea of perfect.
I think imperfection makes people approachable. People identify with the imperfect person. Being human is being imperfect. We are all wonderful mixed up characteristics of “good”, “bad”, boring, fun, silly, serious, etc. Do we all have to be a size 6 to be ok? I don’t think so.
Spend some time imagining this woman who you are going to be when you have achieved this “goal”. Who is she? What does she wear? How does she spend her time?
Why not be that (super) woman now?
Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
--Intuitive Eating is a book written by Tribole and Resch. Learn more at intuitiveeating.com
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,