I remember reading an article years ago about peptic ulcer disease (PUD). In medical school we had learned that PUD was caused by stress and that the treatment was antacids and a bland diet. The treatment didn't work very well, but we didn't know any better. The article explained that many cases of PUD are actually caused by a bacterial infection that can be cured with a round of antibiotics.
Aha! No wonder the treatment didn't work: We were treating the symptoms not the cause.
My paradigm was radically shifted. I never looked at PUD in the same way.
A Radical Turning Point
A similar shift took place in my own life 13 years ago. After 20+ years of yo-yo dieting, I realized that I was treating the symptoms, not the cause. Even worse, the treatment was making the symptoms worse.
Since then, I've been teaching, writing, and speaking about this radical shift. Those who are motivated by frustration or their own painful eat-repent-repeat cycle, take the time to really listen and read more in-depth and experience their own radical paradigm shift as well.
Unfortunately, some prefer to stay trapped in their old paradigm simply because it is comfortable and familiar. They filter what I say or write through their old paradigm, take what fits, and ignore what doesn't - so it pretty much comes out sounding like the same old thing.
For some reason, it's hard for some people to see the need for a radical shift:
- If thinking certain foods are bad doesn't stop us from eating them - and causes cravings, guilt, and more overeating - then maybe that approach makes the symptoms worse.
- One of the (many) drivers of weight gain is restrictive eating - but most people blame themselves despite the fact that diets eventually fail 95% of people. Is it possible that the "solution" doesn't actually solve the problem?
You Don't Know What You Don't Know
I guess our culture is so entrenched in believing that if we don't try to control our behavior, we'll be out of control. But there is a third radical option: We can learn to be in charge instead.
This radical paradigm shift requires us to honestly look at what has and hasn't worked in the past and consider the possibility that there is a completely different way to resolve this - even if you didn't know about it before or don't fully understand it yet.
Every day I wake up and recommit myself to this radical mission: It is not only possible to break the painful eat-repent-repeat cycle, it is essential!
I remind myself that for many, the thoughts and behaviors are deeply ingrained so it will take a more in-depth understanding and personal practice for the shift to take root. If you're commited to your own radical shift, focus on chapters 1 through 8 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat to guide you through the process one step at a time. Reread them again (and again) if necessary.
Your paradigm will be radically shifted; you will never look at your eating in the same way again.