The mind is like Freud’s superego, or referee between the two-year-old tongue and the stomach. It is emotional chaos! The mind (superego) tries and tries to tame that two-year-old typically using some form of punishment or guilt. The superego/mind begins to implement plans like “ok tongue, you ate chocolate-molten cake and nachos last night, so to make the stomach happy you now have to work out for two hours to make that food not count.” Or the superego would say “you ate bad last night, so for the next three days you have to eat low calorie.” The tongue is always being punished a little too late; the stomach is ignored until enough complaining and physical pain is reached; the superego/mind then tries to come up with some sort of crazy balance to get these two parts of us to get along. It is easy to get caught in this trap. Can anyone identify? Many get into this exact vicious cycle of internal argument. All the argument compromises us emotionally, mentally and spiritually. How can we be internally centered with all this going on?
On some level we have figured out through much pain, frustration and chaos that we will be in a permanent relationship with food for the rest of our lives and we had better figure out a way to find a balance. There has to be a way to have a better balance, right? It is impossible to fully love ourselves under this type of duress. The middle place can be discovered where we are not totally deprived and yet we are not indulgent either. Deprived and indulgent are two low frequency emotional states. The middle place would provide us with abundance and balance. What is this middle place?
Solution: What I have found is that I probably will not ever have a perfect relationship with food, but I have found a ‘good enough” relationship with food. Now that I know that my tongue is two-years-old it is easier to discipline. I do not see it as a food issue but rather as a tongue/toddler issue. This makes the ego/stomach easier to hear. I no longer walk around with the “why did I eat that’s,” the “what is wrong with me’s,” the “why do I not have any control?” or the “I hate my self’s:” I would not let my child overeat so why would I treat myself with any less love or care? I try not to look at my life as being stuck between the extremes of food control or a lack of control. I look at it as parenting. The discipline of my two-year-old. I have strategies to parent my child, so I parent my tongue in the same way. To be a good parent I have to listen to my child, so I also need to listen to my stomach and discipline my tongue. We cannot give a child what it wants whenever it wants it and have a good kid. The same goes for the tongue. We cannot feed it what it wants, whenever it wants, and how much it wants, and not have a self-esteem problem around body image.
It is simple in concept. We have to commit to learning when enough is enough. If we are abundant we know when enough is enough. If we are excessive or indulgent we do not know when enough is enough. Think about seeing a toddler throwing a tantrum in the store and how repulsed we are by that behavior. When we are eating with excessiveness we repulse ourselves and others in the same way. Excessiveness is anti-seductive. It pushes others away.