One of the most interesting aspects of TWL is portion size. With TWL, you stop controlling portion size all together. For most of us who have struggled with our weight in various ways, including in my case with eating disorders, we've tightly controlled portion size, always keeping it to some external standard, such as:
- "as small as possible"
- less than x calories
- not more than y carbohydrates
- x ounces
- "a portion as big as your fist"
---something! TWL is about letting go totally, and eating what your body wants no matter no much or how little it is. This is terrifying for most of us. You are sure that disaster will ensue. You have been conditioned to believe that the body cannot be trusted, that it has to be controlled. And if you're fat, then it really, really has to be controlled. Your mind (conditioned by years of exposure to the diet industry) has a field day, saying:
- "What if I go crazy and eat a whole box of cookies? Or seven boxes of cookies?"
- " What if I end up being 300 pounds?"
- "My body has no idea how much to eat! I have to rely on someone to tell me!"
What you discover though, and fairly quickly, is that the body knows. Even the fat body knows. If you listen, if you trust it, your body will balance out and end up wanting a "good" portion size that is right for you. A healthy body doesn't end up wanting to overeat, because overeating doesn't feel good or pleasant. But it takes a bit of learning. It also takes totally giving up control, something that you've only done in a negative way on a binge. It takes surrendering to the wisdom of your body. You may overeat a few times as you learn to trust your body, but you get to find out how overeating really truly feels, and once you do, as Kelly has described perfectly here, it is hard but it is good, because this is an experience you've missed out on despite overeating and numbing out gazillions of times.
Your body will learn. Pretty quickly. And yes, even your body can be trusted. (Cause for celebration for those of us who feel like our bodies are defective and unattractive and irreparably damaged from years of distorted eating from strict dieting, wild binging, or other eating disorders!) Your fat body is a good body and has just been adapting and trying as hard as it could to adjust to what you've been putting it through. And your body responds with answers---sometimes pain and discomfort from overeating---but also joy that you are finally listening to it. It is a profound relief.
Annie has described an initial experience with TWL so beautifully here. She has put into words so well what I wish I could describe.
This is radical, unconventional, counter cultural, gentle, kind, and only possible for people who are interested in and willing to learn to be present. I don't know if I could have done this before...well...now, as opposed to last month or even a few weeks ago. It's a stumbling, uncertain, and joyous path, too, one in which I'm thrilled to have Kelly and Annie walking along with me.