Setting boundaries are essential to our self-care. Ultimately, if we say "yes" when we really mean "no" to do things when our schedule is already maxed out, or say "yes" when we're really not hungry, to food we really didn't want or need, we are disregarding our own needs, to please others. This is no bueno.
Once the resentment and feelings of overwhelm set in, we find ourselves running towards the cookie jar, because, somewhere deep down we feel violated when we lack firm boundaries. Truth is, many of us do not learn healthy boundaries growing up, especially if our caregivers didn't have healthy boundaries for themselves either.
Boundaries are the emotional and physical borders we place between ourselves and other people. It's where we draw the line, and support ourselves in making good decisions for our personal wellbeing.
The French have strict boundaries around only eating three meals a day and not snacking. With that said, within the boundary of meal times, there the French allow themselves tremendous freedom to eat a variety of foods, within the boundary of moderation. This approach worked beautifully for me, and continues to, after twenty plus years. This is because I can live with and sustain the boundaries I learned to set for myself.
Better boundaries make for better eating. Boundary setting needs to be about whats right for us, not about pleasing others. We deserve to draw the line where we believe it needs to be drawn, simply for our own wellbeing. Any boundary we set is about what's best for us, not for anyone else.
Oftentimes when we establish new personal boundaries for ourselves, it is met with resistance, especially when we break the bad news that someone can't overstep anymore. For example, some of my family memebers didn't enjoy the fact that I no longer want to eat cake at any time of the day.
However, once they were convinced that I was loyal to my new boundaries and most importantly that I wasn't stopping them from doing their thing, Ithey simply stopped pressuring me. When we break the comfort zone by asserting a new boundary, it's important to be consistent and cofident in our decision.
It's not our job to be concerned about or responsible for other people's reaction. Noses will be put out of joint. If friends/family members/boyfriends/work colleagues aren't ready to respect our boundaries, we may need to back off from them....until they learn and adjust.
Bear in mind, we can't control other people's perceptions of us, however, we are in charge of our we perceive ourselves. We are powerful and not powerless in our decisions around food. Boundaries help remind people of what we are willing to condone.
The good thing is that someone with good boundaries themselves will respect ours. For example, if someone comes to my house and chooses not to eat (for whatever reason), I respect their choice and am not offended at all. Likewise, if I decide not to drink alcohol at a party, a gracious host with good boundaries themselves, will not apply pressure for me to drink.
If by chance we find ourselves being pressurred to violate our boundaries with food or drink, its; helpful to have an automatic response up our sleeve that rolls off the tongue. Something along the lines of; "I would like it if you could support me in eating/drinking the way I choose to"
We need boundaries ultimately to preserve our equilibrium. Don't be afraid to set them and enforce them. Treat it as a game if you are met with resistance. Ultimately, its our body, our life and, as long as we are not hurting anyone, then who cares if people judge us for the boundries we set for ourselves?
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G'day. Welcome to my blog, where I write about mindful eating. My name is Sally Asher and I'm a wellness author of three books. I hold a Health Science degree and have a passion for behavioral change. I live between South Florida and Melbourne with my husband and two teenagers. My husband and I run a real estate investment company. I love to help people eat mindfully and reconnect with the innate, intuitive sense of eating that we are all born with.