The first step to recognizing these patterns is to look back at your experiences with food and look for pivotal moments that may have shaped your attitudes.
“Most people can find a time and a place where it all started,” says Museles, such as after a divorce when eating became a comfort or when a relative criticized your weight. For one client, it was when an alcoholic father made dinner time so stressful, she found herself years later avoiding family dinners with her own kids.
For Museles, an unhealthy obsession with “perfect” eating and staying slender began after she got her ears pierced as a reward for losing weight when she was 9, and as she watched her dad padlock the fridge so he couldn’t binge at night.
Monitoring her diet became all-consuming, even threatening her relationship with the man who is now her husband. Once she realized how damaging this perfectionism was, she began working on changing it and focusing on eating wholesome, nourishing foods rather than calorie counting.
Once you recognize your story, Museles says, you can acknowledge it and release it saying, “That’s not my story anymore.” She also recommends sharing your story with others to help you come to terms with it.
Next, she advises clients to start thinking about how they want to feel about food going forward. Do they want to feel peaceful, strong, alive? Do they want meals to be less complicated, or do they want to feel more connected to what they’re eating?
Museles says to envision what you’d like your relationship with food to be like and ask, “How does my story need to shift so I can feel that way?”
Slowing down and connecting with your body