You’ll have noticed in the last few posts that I’ve been thinking a lot about self-talk, most especially my own. Part of being in healthy conversations is monitoring our assumptions. I was at the grocery store today and bought black beans. My inner voice started talking to me about buying flour tortillas to go with them. As I’d eaten some flour on my trip abroad without big cravings, there was an assumption in there that this would be okay.
Assumptions are tricky devils. They appear to us as facts (“I could never do X”) when they’re not necessarily true; we treat them as beliefs (“People always X”) when thinking that doesn’t promote peace or happiness in our life; we treat them as real when all they are, are thoughts (“I should be able to eat flour”). And just like that clever saying, “Don’t believe everything you think,” most of us are better served by examining our assumptions for what they are rather than assuming our assumptions are valid.
Because disordered eating and chronic struggle with food has been such a big part of our lives, it’s not surprising that most of us have a lot of assumptions about recovery before we ever experience it. We’re skeptical (“that will never work”), jaded (“I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work”), and discouraged (“nothing works for me”). But those assumptions, those false beliefs don’t serve us. It’s almost never true that we can’t lose any weight if we follow a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, small amounts of protein, and few or no grains and eat these in moderate amounts. Whether it’s what we eat or how much or both, change is possible if we are persistent.
Just like other forms of self-talk, assumptions that empower us (I can find an exercise program that fits my life) serve us better than those that disempower us (I don’t have time to exercise). Those of us who suffer from food addiction need our own help in choosing assumptions and other forms of self-talk that move us toward recovery, not away from it.
What new assumptions could you make that would strengthen your recovery?