From Compulsive to Intuitive Eating – and more

For years, a good friend, Tina, in 12 Step food recovery has been a huge proponent of abstinent eating – no sugar, no processed foods, and a very set food plan which includes weighing and measuring all portions. Stalwart, solid – pure and simple. Tina has been considered a true leader in this field.

She was, and still is, also a huge proponent of the 12 Steps process which allows us freedom from compulsion and obsession.

Over time,however, Tina has changed her thinking about food and begun the path to intuitive eating – eating when hungry and stopping when full. Not one single food is off limits and there’s no weighing or measuring of everything.

This is a new challenge for Tina, but it also seems to be somewhat of a challenge for so many who followed her very solid lead on food abstinence over the years.

If Tina no longer defines herself as a compulsive eater, what does that mean for them? Should they start eating sugar again? Can they? Do they need to re-define themselves and ocmpletly shift their approach to food -the problem that once owned their lives, body and soul?

It’s a tough one for them – most of us compulsive eating folks would dearly love to eat like normal people. I, myself, continue, absolutely, to know that I am a compulsive eater. Never a doubt – not since birth. Left to my own devices, I do not eat like a normal person. But that’s me. I continue to eat in the way that honors my truth and have no interest in a food free-for-all. For me, that would lead nowhere good.

I tell those in doubt to do the same – honor what is true for you – and work with them to find and discover and solidify that truth and then to move on and live life.

There is one particular issue that really seems to bother my friends in food recovery. Tina has gained a fair amount of weight. Weight gain is scary for those who lost many pounds. And if we are able to maintain that loss AND live free of compulsion through a certain method, perhaps we don’t want that method called into question.

I’ve heard from a number of people who are really troubled by the 30 or so pounds Tina’s put on since her shift. They assume she’s in relapse. Why else would she have gained the weight? And will she continue to gain?

What, I wonder, would the reaction be if Tina had shifted her eating and maintained her light weight?

I don’t have answers to any of these questions. I support Tina in her choice – it’s her body, mind and spirit. I hope she continues to know peace.

And I don’t know where Tina’s natural body want to settle. Every body is different. I certainly don’t believe that every body needs or wants to be thin. She says she’s feeling strong and healthy. I can’t imagine much better than that.

So, I don’t worry about Tina’s path. I am clear about my own and encourage each person to follow hers.

May we all know peace!

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