Have you ever experienced a paradigm shift? Something you believed so deeply is shaken up and the new information comes in….it sometimes feels like an intruder in your brain. It feels like the world is sideways now and we are learning a whole new way of walking.
As an eating disorder therapist, people come to me with eating concerns and body concerns. Most of the time, I am about to nudge them gently into a paradigm shift. Make no mistake about it, no matter how gentle the nudge…..the shift can still be hugely disorienting.
I once heard the metaphor of driving on a road with ruts, where the tires fit so well into the ruts, and as a therapist (for any number of issues), I ask you drive a slightly different path and make new ruts in the road. Often the big trick is the ruts I am asking you to make in the road can be super close to the other ruts and the car slides quickly into the old ruts easily and quickly. Even when you are committed to the new ruts, the car sometimes seems to automatically slip over into the old ruts…..at least until we drive the new path enough that the ruts become more comfortable. As you can probably see, I am talking about neural pathways in your brain.
Because I love to run with a metaphor, the paradigm shift that I suggest, especially to folks with eating and body concerns, is that the road with the ruts they’ve been driving on is part of the problem. To put it plainly, dieting in all shapes and forms are causing the problem. What is being “prescribed” for fat people are the same things we diagnose as eating disorders in thin people, as a culture. I wrote some about diet culture before. It is everywhere we look and causes so much harm. And there is so much resistance that the path with the ruts is not the problem….it must be that I just haven’t driven in the same ruts “enough” or there is something inherently wrong with the vehicle. While there may be other issues with the vehicle, I know…..all the way in my bones…..that driving on that path with ruts has added to the problems with the vehicle and driving in the same ruts more, at the very least, is not going to help the vehicle run better.
I write this as a way to culminate National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. It’s been a week of focusing on where we are in the paradigm shift. Read more about NEDA here.
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