I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend! I ate a lot of delicious food (see apple pie recipe here) and spent a lot of time relaxing which was pretty incredible.
With us now being in the midst of the holiday season, I often hear body and/or food shaming comments. Do you hear things like, “oh I shouldn’t eat that,” “how can you eat so healthy? I could never do that,” “I can’t have that; if I do I will eat the whole cake/pie/whatever.” “Diet starts tomorrow!”
These comments are pretty consistent throughout the year, but come up even more around the holiday season when baking cookies, eating and drinking with family and a desire to stay inside curled up by the fireplace take precedence. And ya know what? THEY SHOULD. I bet you have the best of times during this season, and guilt and food shaming do not belong.
When you deprive yourself of something, it makes you want it even more. Right? Think about being a teenager. When your parents told you couldn’t do something, it made you want to do it more right? (sorry mom and dad). Food is just like that. This can result in overeating and possible feelings of shame. But what if I told you can eat whatever you want, always? Let’s talk about making peace with food.
So this is what you can do:
Accept that there are no “good” or “bad” foods.
I absolutely hate this type of language. There are no foods that are inherently bad or good for you. Having a salad is not good. Having a cookie is not bad. What you eat does not reflect your character or morality!! Black and white thinking, like this, does not benefit anyone.
Eat what you want, when you want.
You wake up and want a doughnut? Eat the doughnut. Want eggs? Eat the eggs. Listen to your body and not what anyone else tells you.
Eat without penance.
This means that eat what you want, without saying or thinking, “now I need to run 6 miles tomorrow,” or exercising before a big meal so that you “earn” that food. You never need to earn anything in order to eat.
Do you think you can do any of these? I encourage you to challenge your mindset. So whenever that voice in your head says something mean, talk back to it. Literally. Out loud. To yourself or to someone else.
For example, I want a brownie for dessert. Inner mean girl (or boy), “you can’t have that brownie, you’ll want 16 of them and you didn’t work out hard enough today. If you eat that you will have screwed up an entire day of good eating.”
The best version, “Hmm I want a brownie. I think I will have one because they are so delicious. And I want it with milk because that will make it even better. I know that having a brownie (or 2!) is going to be fine and is healthy for me today.”
You may think, well yeah Rose you say I can eat everything I want, but then what if I just eat that forever and become really unhealthy? Well, you probably won’t. You may find that once you give yourself permission to eat certain foods, and you do eat them, you probably won’t want to eat them every single day the rest of your life. Your body will naturally crave healthier foods too! But you will have to trust me in that I have been there, and so have many others.
So right now, eat that food and see what happens. You may surprise yourself.
Want to do a fun activity? YES!
5 step method to make peace with food:
- Make a list of foods that are appealing to you.
- Put a check by foods that you actually eat, and then circle the rest that you do not.
- Give yourself permission to eat 1 forbidden food each week. Buy it, make it, whatever.
- Check in with yourself as you eat. Does this taste as good as I remember? If so, continue to eat it!
- Make sure that you keep that food in your kitchen so that it is there if you want it. Or if that is too difficult, when you go out to eat, give yourself permission to order and eat it as much as you’d like.
You may find that foods you thought were your favorites don’t taste as good as you originally thought. Conversely, you may discover that the foods you have been avoiding taste amazing. Both of these are fine and well. If something doesn’t taste as good, do you need to keep eating it? I have found that store bought brownies and cakes do not taste as good as homemade. So now I like to keep something homemade in the freezer so that I can have something sweet that I LOVE around all the time. This may work for you as well!
Remember this post, and check in with your hunger while you are eating too!
And again, remember, you deserve to eat the foods that you love. Pleasure from food is one the greatest things in life.
As always, I would appreciate any and all feedback. Hope your holiday season is going well and I will talk to you next week!!
References: Intuitive Eating