For those of us that have spent many years on the diet train, yo yo dieting, calorie counting, meal restricting and food deprivation, thinking about the possibility of actually being able to eat and enjoy ourselves can seem pretty far fetched. I see many clients who come to me saying they love food too much, when in fact they fear food. They fear the hold food has over them, they fear having to work out what they should and shouldn't eat, whether it is "good or bad" for them. They resent the power food has over them.
So how can you enjoy yourself and still be an eater?
Start by valuing the feedback from your own body. Start listening to your body as it is always giving you feedback if you choose to listen rather than override it with food. Ask yourself, what is it asking me to learn right now?
It is also important to understand there is a place where there are no hard and fast rules about food. It's not about extremes, but there's a place where rules fall away and its about what is right for your body at this time and there are times when you eat what you feel like eating even though its not the “right” food. Certain times your body calls for more food, listen to it. Other times you don’t like food as much. Then you have to trust yourself and that even if you make a mistake, you will be ok. The only person judging us for those things is us, no one else. Letting go of these food rules allows you to look at food without judgement, food becomes food, neither good nor bad, just food. When food loses the moral value we place on it, it can no longer hurt you, or control you. Instead you start to take your power back and choose food that nourishes you.
Love and acceptance of where you are at now is the only way to get to the other side.
We spend a lot of our life with food rules - are they serving you? Don’t follow other people’s food rules, listen to your own. Learn to truly trust yourself, because how you show up with food is how you show up in life. Take the information you get and ask yourself is that information right for me? Ultimately you need to respect you. This may mean you need to:
Protect Yourself from Diet Culture
Often, those of us with a challenged relationship with food become sponges for food rules. If a friend decides carbs are bad, that is their new food rule too. If a celebrity touts a new cleanse, it becomes an excuse for us to engage in similar behaviours.
When starting out in your journey, it can be important to create a wall between you and diet culture. That means if you see a magazine cover featuring diet tips and “healthy” foods, don’t even pick it up. If you’re in the lunch room and your co-workers start talking about food in a negative way that you find triggering, simply excuse yourself and leave the room. Give yourself a buffer to reduce your exposure to harmful messages that may trigger old disordered thoughts and the need for food rules.
Remind Yourself Where Food Rules Lead
Food rules often start small. One fear food develops, maybe you start weighing yourself a little more frequently, not a huge deal. But all of a sudden, more food rules and behaviours creep in and next minute food is now the enemy.
Keep this in mind when you find that you are holding onto one last food rule, or you start developing a new one. Acknowledging this awareness of where your behaviours lead and making a conscious decision not to go down that road can be a powerful step in your journey.
If food rules govern your life and you find it hard to enjoy yourself and be an eater, click on the link to book a free 15 minute discovery call with me and we can talk about how you can make change to free yourself of these rules and learn to love being an eater again.