Monday, July 13, 2015

Rolling with resistance

In working with my clients and talking to other people who advocate for Intuitive Eating, one thing that always comes up is what to do about resistance.  Resistance is the force that might prevent us from moving forward and when trying to make peace with food.  It is a feeling, belief or thought that prevents us from truly embracing our body's intuition when it comes to food.

Resistance comes at different times for each of us but it will likely come at some point.  In my experience, resistance tends to rear it's head when we've hit on a sensitive or raw nerve.  We hit something that brings up an issue we either weren't ready to deal with or something that surprises us.

Resistance can come up when we just start learning about intuitive eating. We know we might want to try something other than the diets that we've been on forever.  We know there is something better out there and we're trying to give ourselves permission to eat and BAM, there it is, resistance smacking us upside the head.  The fear of unconditional permission to eat truly anything might seem scary because what will happen if we start down that rabbit hole? The fear of uncontrollable eating or the unknown manifests as resistance.  "Maybe this isn't for me?" is what you tell yourself.  "Maybe I should just go back to what I was doing before, it wasn't so bad." is how you try convince yourself you cannot succeed.

Resistance might come up later for some.  Perhaps, you've mastered permission, you're tuning into hunger and fullness but then all of a sudden life's everyday ups and downs come along and throws your eating and intuition out of balance and suddenly you realize that your emotions are dictating your eating.  Resistance is back by your side, preventing you from moving forward.

Its not important to avoid or deny resistance, but what is important is how you deal with it. Giving up might seem like the easy way out because change is just too overwhelming.  Resistance is like a big wall in front of your ultimate goal.   A wall so wide that there's now way around it, so instead of trying to climb over, you just turn around and walk away.

There is a different way than giving up.  You can find a way to fight through resistance. It might seem scary and full of unknowns, but learning to fight through resistance is where you learn the most about yourself and the path to a different relationship with food.  So, how do you deal with resistance? Try these 3 steps:

1) Mindfulness - Becoming more mindful helps you notice what it's like to be in the moment, to be with your feelings and thoughts.  It can help you learn to be comfortable with uneasiness instead of running away from it.

2) Journal - Don't keep a food journal, but use a journal to log your feelings about food, your body, your emotions or anything else that you are struggling with. You can use that as a tool for reflection when you are calm to help you gain a better understanding of how your feelings are affecting your actions.

3) Find someone who can help you process your fear or uneasiness.  This is where I (or any other professional you trust) come into play. When you find that resistance has come up, even though it's scary and might bring up some sensitive issues, working with a professional to try to understand what's going is the best time to learn so much about your relationship with food.  It's in these moments when breakthroughs are made, when learning happens and when you finally get to a greater understanding about you and food.

Resistance is normal for all of us.  It seems to happen at the more inconvenient of times and sometimes when we least expect it.  But remember: shying away from the wall of resistance is the easy and comfortable path. Be brave, take a deep breath and climb the wall. I'll be there to spot you to make sure you don't fall. You are strong and you can climb over it, I promise.

1 comment:

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