“You must learn to use your power for good, not evil.”
That is what my dad always told me. What this said to me was that each and every person has a superpower, a gift… something that is unique and useful to the world. But our greatest strengths, when mismanaged, can also be a struggle. So often I see that a person’s downfalls are windows to discover their super-strengths.
In working with people and food I have found there is a great deal of insight that can be found in food choice patterns. Some people have a rebellious nature, which makes it next to impossible to stick to a rigid diet. Some have an addictive nature that leads to more extreme dieting. Some have such big hearts and are sensitive, leading food to serve as emotional solace rather than fuel.
I see this even more in the world of eating disorders. Eating disorders are a method of communicating thru food choices. The way a person with an eating disorder interacts with food is also how they interact with life. People with bulimia binge and purge food, but they are also bulimic in behavior patterns. A bulimic might binge and purge on food, words, relationships, or jobs.
Through years of mistakes and fortunately reversible damage to my body, I found that the personality traits that led me to bulimia can be flipped to be traits that make me unique and powerful. Those behaviors that popped up on my plate gave me insight into some of the most wonderful parts about me. I can be reckless…but if I am attentive, instead I am spontaneous. I can be aggressive… but if I am mindful, instead I can be bold and fearless.
The difference between me using my power for good, not evil, is first awareness and then… discipline.
For the most part, now I binge on balances eating, goal setting, playing with my boys, falling deeply in love and sometimes Netflix. I purge things like my eating disorder, negativity, that which I can’t control and sometimes last season’s shoes. My latest binge has been writing this blog and my newly released e-book on body image.
I have been a dietitian long enough to confidently bet that each one of you demonstrates personality traits in the way you interact with food. Instead of fighting your food struggles… follow them. Observe them with mindfulness and then intertwine discipline. See if they are cracks that can lead you to unlock some of your superpowers. Food patterns tell a lot about a person. What personality traits show up in your relationship with food?
And… are you using your power for good, or evil?