I don’t like to be told what to do. It makes me want to do the opposite. I have always been this way. In junior high when the girls my age were all taking sewing and cooking classes I took metals and woods. So it probably comes as no surprise that I have a diet “rebel”.
When I think about this feeling of being rebellious I imagine that my rebel looks something like a teenaged hippie. She will eat standing at the door of my pantry. She is anti-establishment. She does her own thing. Rules don’t work for her. She thinks regulations are just the “big man” trying to control us. She eats what she wants, when she wants it. If I try to talk rationally with her it doesn’t work. She is all about feelings. She wants “peace” and gives the peace sign frequently. There is only one “person” who can handle my hippie. My mother.
This isn’t my real mother. My real mother was fabulous, but human, with strengths and weaknesses. This is my fantasy mother. I consider her my all caring, nurturing piece of myself. She is the one who makes me a healthy breakfast so I can fuel up for the day. She is the one that finds the best peaches so I enjoy a nutritious snack. She is the one who packs a lunch for me so I don’t buy the fast food on the way home that keeps me from eating as I wish. She is my supporter and cheerleader and loves me just as I am. She supports me not to make me more perfect but to help me reach my goals in a loving and supportive way. She never shames me for my mistakes but keeps helping me strive to reach my health goals. She doesn’t feed me cookies to make me feel better but she gives great mental hugs and gets me my favorite blanket and book when I need a break. She is able to take that hippie of mine and pat her on the head and say – “yes dear, I remember Woodstock, now please get out of my way I am closing the pantry door”.
I have found that my process of healing my relationship with food has included three very important pieces of myself: my little girl, my diet rebel, and my mother. My little girl is the part of me that was hurt and had unmet needs. My diet rebel was the part of me that wanted to shun all the rules and regulations that my little girl “had” to follow and disliked. My mother is able to deal with the little girls needs, the diet rebel’s “issues”, and provides love and support in a nurturing and healthy way.
When I think about how I want to eat I try to imagine what my fantasy mother would do. She would set the table and make my coffee just the way I like it and make sure the oatmeal had no lumps and get my favorite raisins – the softer ones I like best. She would make me a lunch; a sandwich with my favorite whole grain bread cut in four pieces just like I like it. She would make sure there were veggie slices and a delicious piece of fruit and always just a little bit of something sweet. She might put in a little note that said – thinking of your meeting today and I hope it goes just right and put a little heart and xo on the bottom. For dinner, she would make something delicious but if I needed to watch my salt she would find just the right herbs to make the soup delicious. We would have a healthy balanced meal that tasted great. She would take the time to cook foods so they tasted great like roasting vegetables in a bit of olive oil, and making sure the meatloaf had green peppers in it since I like it that way best. She would encouraged me to set a beautiful table and encourage me to find family and friends to share it with since my favorite meals are ones I share with others
So when you find yourself feeling like a rebellious teen that doesn’t want to deal with life’s crap and follow rules and regulations perhaps invite your “mother” over to give you some advice.
written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,