Why Foods are Not “Good” or “Bad”
Foods are not inherently healthy or unhealthy and you are not “good” or “bad” for eating certain foods. For example, if you were really hungry and craving something heavier and warm with a salty flavor, an orange really wouldn’t be a “healthy” choice because it would be denying your needs. In that case, a burger would actually be a better option. Food is meant to be nourishing and pleasurable; not something to torture ourselves over.
Why You Should Give Yourself Unconditional Permission to Eat Anything at Anytime
This is a MAJOR aspect of making peace with food and your body. When you allow yourself the option to have any food at any time, this creates a profound sense of freedom and trust between your mind and body. You no longer have to feel out of control around food or have anxiety about what to eat or not eat. When you know whatever food you want will always be available, it loses power over you. You just eat what your body tells you to and what feels good in your body. The FOOD POLICE ARE NOT GOING TO ARREST YOU.
Let Go Of Your Food Rules
A big part of making peace with food is letting go of your food rules. Think about all of the rules you have created for yourself. Is there one that might feel okay breaking? Can you experiment with allowing yourself to break this rule? Try to have compassion for whatever comes up for you. Notice how you feel before and after. Was it liberating? Are you ready to tackle another one of your rules? See if you can begin conquering your food rules one at a time at a pace that feels comfortable and safe for you.
The first time I did this was absolutely terrifying. I went to the store and bought white powdered doughnuts. I loved them as a kid and was so curious to see if they were still as good as I remembered. They sat in my pantry for a few days before I finally mustered up the courage to eat one. I ate a bite. Nothing happened. Then I kept eating. Still nothing. I finished the doughnut. And guess what? Still nothing! I was still alive and well. Nothing bad happened. I felt fine. I actually felt better than fine. I felt liberated. I felt proud. I felt like a weight was lifted off of me. I was FREE to eat whatever the hell I wanted and there was nothing to be afraid of.
Listen to Your Body
This is the complicated part. We are all born intuitive eaters, naturally in tune with our body’s needs. However, as we grow up, our brains are flooded with messages about dieting, what bodies are “supposed to” look like, what we “should” and “shouldn’t” eat. This causes us to completely lose sight our body’s natural signals. To start getting back in touch with your body, try to practice mindfulness when you eat. Turn off all distractions like your phone and the TV. Take several deep breaths. Notice how the food looks on your plate, how it smells, what it feels like, how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth, etc. Notice how you feel before, during and after eating. You can ask yourself questions like:
- What would I eat if I allowed myself to have absolutely anything in the world?
- What can I do in this moment to best take care of myself?
- How do I want to feel? What will allow me to feel that way?
Over time, this process will feel more natural and you’ll start to become much more aware of your body’s biological cues like hunger, fullness and satisfaction.
Ready to take action to heal your relationship with food and your body?
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Still sound to good to be true? Read the next post in this Introduction to Intuitive Eating series: 6 Myths About Intuitive Eating That Are Totally Wrong.