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Fat

Diet. It is a hot topic, a wild arena of conflicting forces, and a necessary part of life.

We must eat. We make choices. We succeed much more than we realize. The proof is that we are still here. Whatever you’ve been eating… it works. You didn’t starve. Give yourself credit.

Most diet and nutrition advice is full of criticism and punishment. Food is fundamentally nurturing. I see a jarring in-congruence. How can we effectively nurture ourselves by constantly indulging in criticism and self-punishment?

Fat is a feared word in our culture. Actually fat is very necessary for life. We have pads of fat on the bottoms of our feet to absorb the stress of standing and walking. We have fat wrapped around nerves to improve function (myelination). We have a layer of fat under our skin everywhere that helps the skin slide over the muscles.

But call me fat and I am hurt and angry! Call me bony, muscular, brainy, nervous, skinny, even hairy- none of those are as socially punishing as “fat”. Fat is part of us all, but we revile ourselves for it.

Food contains fat. We need it. We are hungry if we don’t get enough fat, regardless how much carbohydrate and protein we eat. Low fat diets are exceedingly self-defeating. We get no pleasure eating, no satiation afterward, creating a cycle of failure that re-enforces self-criticism.

Imagine an approach to eating based in pleasure and success. By enjoying what we eat, by savoring, relishing, we learn to invest our attention in a clever way. We can learn what foods suit us. Punishment and criticism only slow the process.

Given a choice between junk food and healthy food, babies will choose the healthy. Why do we distrust ourselves? Why not go to our basic sense of what is right for us? It is individual, and it varies according to our wants and needs. No outside formula can keep up with the changes in a human life.

Food, diet, fat- it’s simple. Trust your gut.

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March 29, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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