Before you do anything, check out the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. If you’re like me (and most Americans I know), just the outline could change the way you relate to food forever.
I saw this book at the library and thought, “Well, sure, I already know all about that, but I’ll see what they have to say.” I like to know what’s out there in diet and fitness land, for when people ask. (As much as possible to appear to know everything.) Still, it changed the way I think about food radically.
I have practiced mindful eating, and I haven’t considered myself a “dieter” in… oh, 20 years? (I don’t really count The Best Life Diet, though maybe I should!) I read a book when I was 16 called Fighting the Female Fat Cell and was convinced straight away that dieting:
- was bad for your body
- would lead to yo-yo weight gain
- just not worth it
Reading Intuitive Eating, however, showed me that I was still practicing restrictive eating. I thought of certain foods as “good” and some as “bad.” I thought, if I tracked my calories on Livestrong, it wasn’t really dieting… just being mindful. It wasn’t, though. If I tracked something really high in calories and went over my limit for the day, I’d feel guilty, and then I’d end up eating more because, well, why not? I’d already messed up.
I’d also resist foods I was deeply craving. Then, when I’d finally give in, I’d eat a lot, perceiving it as my “last chance” to eat these decadent foods.
Until I read Intuitive Eating, I didn’t realize that I was sabotaging myself this way.
So I changed. Almost overnight, I got rid of the food police and gave myself permission to eat whatever I enjoyed, as long as I really enjoyed it. Knowing I could always have more later took away a lot of the mystique of the foods I was craving.
Now I can think of Nutty Bars and instead of thinking, “Oh, I can’t let myself have those, I just won’t stop,” I think, “Eh. They’re okay. Maybe I’ll have one later, but I’m honestly kind of over them now.” I mean, within a week Nutty Bars lost their hold on me…. These were my nemesis food for years.
So, I’ve given myself permission to eat, to trust myself and what my body wants. I’ve released guilt surrounding food, and stopped counting calories. I’ve been doing this for 3 weeks, and interestingly, have lost weight. It wasn’t my goal, but I’m not displeased about it, either! Mostly, I’m really happy that all my angst around food is gone. I think this would be a longer process for someone who was a chronic dieter, but definitely worth it.
I’ve even added the certificate of training as one of my self-study goals for next year, so I can introduce these lessons in my personal training sessions. I’m already recommending the book like crazy (obviously).
Let me know if you try it! I hope it’s as helpful for you as it has been for me.