The 180-Degree Difference

When it comes to eating, we think (and our culture amply supports us in this notion) that restricting food is the good and right thing to do. We see it in terms of a spectrum: on one end of the spectrum we see restricting as right and virtuous, and on the other end of the spectrum we see eating certain amounts/kinds of foods as wrong and gluttonous.

When we view these behaviors as located on different ends of the spectrum from one another, we conceptualize them as opposites and think of ourselves as having a choice between engaging in one OR the other, with nothing in between. However, when we bring those two end-points of the spectrum to meet in a circle, we realize that both of these extremes actually have much more in common with each other (most people, in fact, alternate between the two, highlighting their relationship with one another), than either of them have with the 180-degree difference which is opposite from both of the two extremes.

The 180-degree difference (which incorporates Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating principles as well as The Language of Emotions) includes:

1. Prioritizing attention to your body (rather than intellect or emotions) in matters of eating, rest, and movement;
2. Repositioning weight as an outcome of healthy habits and self-care rather than as a goal;
3. Loving your body and self no matter what your size (because loving your body and yourself leads to better body-attunement, self-care, and quality of life) rather than waiting to be a certain weight or size first; and
4. Learning to manage stress through honoring and channeling your emotions rather than use food to control them.

I have been practicing full time as a therapist since 2001 and work with adults (i.e. people who no longer live with or financially dependent upon their parents) in individual therapy. I specialize in the treatment of eating disorders and have served in the past as president on the CREDN board. I also specialize in trauma. Tools in my therapeutic toolbox include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, EMDR, Language of Emotions, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.

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