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Setting Effective Boundaries

Boundaries are prevalent throughout the universe; planets have orbits, oceans have shores, rivers have banks. Boundaries define the beginnings and ends of many things. Walls define a room, fences separate my yard from yours, a cup has a limit to how much it can hold.

The first and most important boundaries we must set are those we set with ourselves. How we treat the body, mind, and spirit determines so very much of how we feel, and of who we become, that these are critically important boundaries. And when a boundary does not work for you, you can change it.

If you want to make changes in your life, you may need to change some boundaries. As you begin a recovery food plan, or return to it, take the time to think about just what it is that you want to accomplish here. Though you may be foggy headed from your last binge, you can be clear that this is not working. And you may be clear that this problem was not solved in your last attempt. So, as you grow food boundaries with yourself, I recommend that you decide that you may change them at any time, but only after serious thought and discussion with people you trust, not impulsively. And look at what food boundaries did not work, and why. And decide what you want to change with the help of those you trust.

And it is important to know what foods are evicted from your food plan for good cause. And it is important to read labels and be sure they are not sneaking in under an assumed name. (Doritos really are like potato chips, you know! Even though they are corn)

You want to draw firm, inflexible boundaries around the foods that set you off; and you want to find enough healthy nutrient rich foods to enjoy. When you are caught in an airport at 11:30 PM, you want to have an appropriate alternative available. That may take planning and adjusting. And it may not be perfect but needs to be appropriate.

Another important boundary is how we talk to ourselves and others about food and our eating plan. If you tell yourself, that you are “fat, stupid, ugly, a hopeless failure,” that is what the body and subconscious mind will think you want. If you tell yourself that this food change “won’t make a bit of difference – I am hopeless” then that will come true.

I want you to draw some really strong boundaries around what you say when you talk to yourself. If you would not say this to your boss, best friend, spouse, or your favorite dietitian, then you MAY NOT say it to yourself! This is SOOOOO important! Speak kindly to yourself, focus on what you want to grow in your life, and do not allow other rude people to decide what you think!

Pay attention to the kind of thoughts that come up regularly in your mind. If they are negative or critical, replace them with positive hopeful thoughts. Do not allow yourself to ruminate on the wrong or negative, because that will be what you draw into your life. Focus on the positive and loving, and on the ideas and situations you want more of in your daily life.

This is hard in the beginning.  Especially if you are used to hearing the worst. Find good ways to say the truth to yourself. Here are some ideas:

  •       I am a good and decent woman, and I am doing the best I can.
  •       I deserve to create the life I want.
  •       I am determined and persistent, and I want to find a way to solve this problem.
  •       I cooperate with my body for my health and well-being.
  •       My body cooperates with me, and I treat it well.

If you have affirmations that work for you, please share them in the comments. If you want a list of affirmations for you, please email If you have negative, nasty thoughts coming up in your mind, please send them out the door. Say good things to yourself and do good things for the body this week.

Blessings to you,


2 Responses to Setting Effective Boundaries

  1. Chanel T. August 9, 2023 at 8:53 pm #

    Thank you, Theresa! An affirmation I like is in question form: What if food isn’t my Higher Power? Pardon the pun but I find this query to be nourishing food for thought.

    • H. Theresa Wright August 22, 2023 at 11:44 pm #

      What a great question! I bet it leads you to a new answer every time!

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