How to forget willpower and be kind to yourself

Happy December everyone! I can’t believe December is already here. We got a Christmas tree this past weekend, went and saw Christmas lights, made cookies. and last night it snowed! It’s getting pretty festive and I am loving it! Did I mention I can’t believe 2017 is almost over? Crazy!

Last post we talked about how to eat what you love, starting by allowing yourself to actually eat those foods. If you are just reading this now, ask yourself, “Do I eat all the foods I love?” Or, “do I avoid those foods thinking I will overeat them?” I think this is an extremely important question. I hear all the time from people that they don’t allow themselves to eat __ food because they are so afraid they will overeat it. But what if, really, you just needed to eat that food more often? Would you crave it so immensely? My thought is that you wouldn’t. Forget willpower, and give yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods!

Rose Mattson - smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowl – made extra delicious with peanut butter and chocolate drizzle because chocolate in the morning is the best

So now what? If you have started to eat some of those foods, I am guessing some pretty powerful feelings have also arisen. I want to chat a little bit today about how to challenge these feelings, be a neutral observer, and replace the dichotomous thinking with positive and productive thoughts.

To make peace with food, you must challenge your beliefs.

Only then will your feelings and behaviors also change. So how do we do that?

Rose mattson - snow walk
Snowy morning walk
  1. Challenge these beliefs!


  • Am I having repetitive and intense feelings?
  • What am I thinking that’s leading me to feel this way?
  • What is true or correct about this belief? Is it false?
  • What can I learn from this experience?

Example: challenging a feeling. “I just had __ now I am going to gain __ pounds. I need to start a diet right away. I am __ and no one likes me.” Questioning – “Why do I feel this way?” “Will I actually gain weight?” “What is true and false about this belief?” “What can I learn from this?”

  1. Be a neutral observer when answering these questions. Notice what you are feeling and sit with it. There is no one way to feel certain things, all feelings matter.

Example: observe your answers to these questions. “I feel sad, unattractive, and I will always be alone.”

  1. Replace these exaggerated thoughts with positive and accurate ones. Start by getting rid of “I must,” “I need to,” “I’m supposed to,” and replace those with “I can,” “it’s okay,” and “I may”.

Example: changing to positive and realistic thoughts. “I can eat ___ food. I know that this is okay and I can eat whatever foods I like. I know that I have a ton of friends and they will like me no matter what. Even though this week has been difficult, I have learned that it is better for me to eat dessert out rather than avoid it and eat more at home.”

rose mattson - cranberry bread
Home-made gluten-free cranberry bread

Remember that this is a process and not an end goal. Try and focus on continual improvement, not where you are a perfect intuitive eater every day all day. Because truth be told, you probably won’t be. Some days will be more difficult than others, and that’s fine! Focusing on small changes over time will be the most sustainable, and provide you with the tools to grow in this journey.

I challenge you to try doing this every day, or whenever these types of feelings arise. Remember this has nothing to do with “willpower”. Craving certain foods is part of life and allowing yourself to eat these types of food is a way to be kind to yourself, just as you would drink water if you were thirsty. If you are kind to yourself, and take care of you first, you can use that power to do good in others lives. And that is what the world really needs.

See you all next week,



References: Intuitive Eating

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