It's time for kids to go back to school and I happened to be in Staples, shopping for some stuff - while parents and their progeny roamed the aisles stocking up on pencils, paper, file folders - the classic school supplies. The sweetest scene was two tweens sitting on the floor between the colored pencils and the backpacks, earnestly showcasing each of their items, describing how and when they planned to bust them out.
The idea of education occurred to me as I was feeling some nostalgia for the whole returning to school thing. I remembered that one Latin root means "to lead out" (I had to google the actual Latin term: educere) I wondered, is the person being educated being led out of ignorance. Or maybe the process of education allows something to be drawn out of led out of the student . . .
It seems to me that the learning done in mindfulness-based intuitive eating classes is a kind of being led out. Being led out of a dark, confusing space that is diet culture. It's kind of amazing that anyone escapes the pervasive drum beat glorifying small bodies and demonizing larger bodies. Equating health with being thin and every other undesirable quality is attached to having a large body. The fortunate ones who see through the deception and lies of the diet industry realize this truth: Diets Don't Work.
Over the 10 weeks of being in class, we speak frankly about how hard we tried and how hard we failed at restricting, eliminating, and counting everything. We recognize that the diet maze seems to have clear instructions for how to get out - but we keep finding dead ends, covering the same ground over and over and never getting anywhere (except more and more disconnected from knowing how to feed ourselves).
When folks begin making their way out of
diet hell, they are pretty certain of one thing: There will NOT be another diet in their future. The rest of it is not so clear. So it turns out, realizing you're lost in the maze of diet culture is a good thing. It can be the start of getting un-lost.