April 23, 2018

Scared of Freedom with Food

You’re probably afraid of what you’ll eat by giving yourself full permission to eat anything you want. After all, you might not be happy with your current food choices, and you’re on a diet! What’s going to happen when you don’t have the structure of a diet? Believe it or not, your body will crave healthy food once you’ve mastered eating intuitively.

Learning to eat intuitively takes time especially if you’ve been dieting for a long time. Lifetime dieter’s have more of what I call diet chatter. What’s diet chatter you ask? Diet chatter is the beliefs you have surrounding food, what to eat and what not to eat. All of the diets you’ve been on and the constant diet information by the media creates diet chatter.

Diet trends influence diet chatter. The big trend now is avoiding carbohydrates (carbs). In the 90’s it was the fat-free food craze. With all the diet information out there it’s easy to see why women are mixed up about what to eat. It’s not as cut and dry,  all or nothing as diets make it out to be.

Diet chatter sucks because it’s not even accurate. There is an overabundance of misinformation out there regarding healthy eating. If I see one more person opt for overprocessed meat products in a “protein pack” vs. a banana, I’m going to scream! Bananas straight from God’s green earth beats processed foods, with over 20 ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, any day.

Want to kiss your diet chatter goodbye so that you can actually hear what YOUR body wants and needs? Throw out your old beliefs and start from scratch. Not quite that simple but that’s a good start. Each food choice we make is an opportunity to practice intuitive eating. Start with the question, “what do I want to eat?” not the usual question, “what should I eat?” Two very different questions. The latter makes your diet chatter stronger. What do I want to eat strengthens your relationship with your body. The choice is yours.

Be easy on yourself. Give yourself time to acclimate to your new found freedom. If you’re eating a highly processed diet, it will take longer for your body to crave whole foods simply because your body isn’t used to whole foods. Trust me though you’ll get there. I repeat you will get there. Trust yourself and the process. Slow and steady wins the race. No quick fixes girlfriend, you’re changing your life for the better.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point. While reviewing a friends food journal, I asked her about the jelly beans she was eating every day around 3 o’clock. She’d written that she craved something sweet and jelly beans were what she had in the house. She’d written that she was disappointed with herself for giving into the cravings. She didn’t even like jelly beans that much, and she felt she overate them.

I told her you’re still in deprivation mode causing you to overeat jelly beans. She was still spending the majority of her day thinking what should I eat not what do I want to eat. By the time 3 o’clock rolled around, she had yet to experience satisfaction. I then asked her what do you want to eat to fulfill those sweet cravings. After some thought she replied cookies. I suggested she make homemade cookies with her daughters. She replied that she was afraid if she had cookies in the house she would overeat them too. I said try it out; you have nothing to lose you over ate the jelly beans you don’t even like.

I told her, sugar is sugar, calories are calories, whether you enjoy the source or not so you might as well enjoy it. Most likely if you’re craving something your body needs it. Instead of pushing away and ignoring your cravings allow yourself to eat what you’re craving. By doing so, you’ll have a better relationship with your body. Your body is intelligent and knows what it needs nutrient wise. You might find that you‘re not craving sweets around 3 o’clock anymore because you‘re satisfied with what you’ve eaten thus far.

I gave her some tips for eating mindfully. Don’t stand in your kitchen doing other things while shoving cookies in your mouth. There is no enjoyment or satisfaction in that. Rather, take a break, sit down and eat a cookie with your children. Make it an event, sit at the table, put the cookies on a plate and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Smell the delicious cookie, eat slowly, and enjoy. If you want another cookie, have it. You can always wait 10-15 minutes and if you still want another cookie, have it. 

Diet chatter has muddled the relationship between you and your body. By continuing to prioritize eating intuitively, by your cravings, you’ll get in-tune with your body. You won’t believe how easy it is. How enjoyable eating can be. How great you’ll feel. You’ll be at peace with food and the decisions you make.

There’s a method to our bodies’ cravings. For example, the week before my period I have a bigger appetite and crave sweets more than usual. As soon as my period starts, I crave meat, spinach, and broccoli because our bodies need increased iron from both plant and animal sources when it’s that time of the month. Ever wonder why the beginning of pregnancy you can barely eat anything? It’s our bodies way of protecting the baby growing inside us. Our body knows it’s no time to take risks with what we put in our body. Yes please on the plain bagel with nothing on it, no thank you to the pungent cheese.

Pregnancy is surprisingly helpful in learning to eat intuitively. Those of you who’ve been pregnant know this. Especially during the beginning of pregnancy, you eat something that you’re not 100% behind, and your body punishes you with nausea and vomiting. It’s a slippery slope for a pregnant gal. Take advantage of this time to get in-tune with your cravings. Remember cravings are here for a reason.

Scared of Freedom with Food

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  1. Good Morning
    I just stopped by to check in with you and felt inspired to share my experience. After reading some of your early blogs, especially the one entitled Eat the Middle of Your Cinnamon Roll First, I realized in my quest to lose weight I had completely lost all pleasure in eating. Over the years, I have gone through Weight Watchers and fake diet foods to Detox and Elimination Diets. Most recently due to stomach issues and allergy testing I eliminated even more foods. My so called allowable foods list very short.
    I was inspired to take a leap of faith and try food freedom. What I am learning so far is amazing to me. First, it was a little scary because all I wanted was bread and butter and candy bars. Which I allowed myself. Then I noticed I stopped being tempted by the candy isle at the checkout which was a weakness for me and lead to sad binges alone in the car on the way home. I don’t even notice them really, and if I want a treat I have been baking tasty treats at home and taking the time to sit and wholeheartedly enjoy them. Then I eat one with complete satisfaction. I am becoming more in tune with my hunger and fullness levels and tuning in to the satisfaction of food and what my body wants and needs. I discovered a lot of food doesn’t taste good to me. In the past I would have ate it unconsciously anyway but now I recognize it and leave it.
    The pleasure of not only eating has returned but also the pleasures of dining out, shopping for food and cooking. I am still getting back in touch with my body but it is now a pleasurable journey. And incidentally I am not obsessing about weight loss because I know it will come as my wise and wonderful body finds balance again.
    Thanks my friend, for offering your story and the wisdom that you have learned and put into practice. I know you truly walk the walk.

    • Chawntay you made my day!! I literally jumped up and down when I read your comment. I’ve known you for over 10 years now. You are a dear friend and to hear that my words have helped you discover the joy in eating again was an honor. Thank you for your positive feedback it means the world to me. Cue Golden Girls theme song, “Thank you for being a friend.”
      For you ladies reading Chawntay’s comment, let it be an inspiration to you. Let’s get some momentum going! Thank you for reading Happiness Doesn’t Diet!

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