Empowered Eating is a solution-focused lifestyle strategy that has four cornerstones.
The first of these is responsibility. Empowered
Eating means that we recognize we are in charge of our choices. It means that
we are in the driver’s seat and can give ourselves credit for our successes and accept fault for our failures. It means
nobody else can do it for us, and if we don’t take the lead, nothing will get done. Empowered eaters realize that every
day we make lifestyle choices, and those choices can be healthy, unhealthy, or some combination. It’s all up to us.
Second, Empowered Eating involves mindfulness. Mindfulness means that we strive to be fully aware of feelings and issues that are
associated with our eating behavior. It means we tune into our internal lives so we can better understand why we do what we
do. It means that we regularly take stock of what we’re feeling and what stresses are acting upon us so that we can
nurture and soothe ourselves in the best way possible. Mindfulness also means striving to savor and enjoy our food fully present
in the moment. Empowered eaters rarely graze, because they are aware of what they want and why they want it, which makes the
task of finding it quite a bit easier.
Third, Empowered Eating is founded in purposefulness. All eating is goal-directed and is the
result of a decision making process. The purpose of our eating might be to fuel our bodies, or it might be to reward ourselves
for a tough day at the office. Our choices reflect our goals, our priorities,
our attitudes, and our emotions. Our choices are complicated by the influence of both conscious and unconscious factors, so
when we are bewildered and confused by our choices it’s often because we aren’t aware of or understand the feelings
underlying them. Our eating has a purpose, and if we understand the purpose, even the most chaotic of eating patterns can
be made comprehensible.
Finally, Empowered Eating is based on competence. Navigating life effectively requires coping skills. Emotional eaters are typically weak in a set of crucial life management tools summarized
by the acronym “FATS”: Feelings management, Assertive expression,
Time effectiveness, and Self-care. An individual weak in FATS skills routinely
feels overwhelmed and out of control, especially when making eating choices. Conversely, strengthening FATS coping skills
almost always results in less emotional eating and a greater feeling of personal power and success. So when we fight fat with
FATS, we learn new ways to take charge of our lives and end the feeling that we are helpless to manage without resorting to
ineffective and self-defeating behaviors.