This is the means by which we have changed our unwanted behaviour (over/under eating, binge eating, addictive and compulsive eating, craving, negative body image and concerns about our weight) into our new behaviour (acknowledging and working with compulsive/addictive urges until they weaken and fade; feeling conscious around food and in control; eating to hunger; making good choices that sustain our energy levels and support our lives; feeling at home in our bodies at their natural size).
Noticing is awareness without judgement. Shining a light on our behaviour without the “background noise” of criticism and negativity. Listening to our minds’ many cues, triggers and justifications like observing passing clouds, knowing that our body wisdom is more powerful than our brain if it is allowed to surface.
- CREATE SPACE:
If you have no time to devote to this process, then this approach is not for you. It takes patience and perseverance to resolve this major issue in our lives. It involves making a commitment to develop your own process, using this as a guide, and using it throughout the day; to come to the group as a priority, to notice the subtle but significant ways in which your life is better and the urge to eat or make poor choices is diminished and manageable. We need to create the space to accomplish this.
This community of eaters is your space.
- BE CURIOUS:
We offer this process to you as a completely different approach to eating, weight and body image issues than the conventional “calories in, calories out”, “eat less, move more” received wisdom as it stands now. Being curious about our behaviour rather than condemning it or simply wishing it away, allows us to understand it, feel it, and face it fully. Being curious works because it is a less stressful way of delving into our minds and bodies to understand why our urge to eat is so strong. The curious mind can then, through the miracle of neuroplasticity, choose to change its pathways and evolve new behaviours that suit us better and bring us peace.
- ENGAGE WITH OUR BEHAVIOURS KINDLY:
If we impose change, as we have done previously by dieting and other restrictive means, we will cause further stress on our bodies as we push or coerce ourselves into changing our behaviour. Engaging with our behaviours kindly and compassionately releases any “have to, should or must” and instead, using our curious mind, we are merely interested to observe ourselves without the need for over analysis or criticism. We start with small steps; perhaps trying a new food in a tiny amount or choosing a ten minute practice that helps our minds to calm.
Adopting kindness towards ourselves underpins the IEWIN approach.
- SPEND TIME WITH OUR BODIES:
We have all found great support and comfort in setting aside some time in the day to be with our bodies. It could be a walk, a self-massage, or a gentle movement practice. When we feel at odds with ourselves because of our eating behaviour or our body image, it is sometimes hard to acknowledge our bodies for the amazing work that they do. Giving time to yourself is part of the process.
- WHEN WE GET STUCK-START AGAIN:
It is inevitable, as you start your own process, that you will get stuck and possibly frustrated. Food is a very convenient way to “check out” both physically and mentally but especially emotionally. This process is all about “checking in”; noticing, creating space, being curious, engaging with our behaviours kindly, and being with and in our bodies. The well-worn brain pathways of compulsion and addiction may kick and scream as they change direction. This is where the group and this process comes in. We are here to support each other as new and different challenges occur and exciting changes take place.
We are not interested in perfectionism. This may actually have played a part in our disordered eating. We are not interested in success or failure, pounds lost or pounds gained. We want to live a balanced life in a body free of compulsion, where our food choices are driven by a desire to nourish ourselves. We want to eat consciously and with pleasure and to live in a body of natural size.