Take a deep breath. Now exhale. It’s OK. You’re aloud to enjoy your food! You’re allowed to indulge in the satisfaction of eating your food. In fact, this is what you should do! Somewhere along the line we’ve become trapped by feeling guilty with our pleasures of eating, because we think we are simply looking to either suppress a feeling or give us a feeling of satisfaction that we may not be getting from other areas of life. Is this true for you? With so much emphasis on weight loss, healthy eating choices and controversial information on our food supply, the guilt between restricting and indulging behaviour may be what’s weighing on you more than weight itself.
Here are a few steps to start making peace with your food:
— Get honest with yourself. What types of foods are you eating? High sugar, fat and salt? Do you feel a sense of guilt after eating these foods? Ask yourself why. Write it down.
— How are you typically feeling prior to eating these foods? Are you stressed? Are you anxious? What are your triggers?
— Work on changing your thoughts around food. Try using new affirming thoughts that maybe you still don’t believe. “I can eat healthy, delicious, satisfying foods that are good for me and nourish my body.” Say this several times a day in your mind. What does a satisfying meal look like to you? How can you feel less guilt around your food choices?
— Take time to truly enjoy and chew your food thoroughly. As Geneen Roth, an expert on emotional eating, puts it: we need to fall in love with food again.
There is a core belief amongst emotional eaters (a large portion of our society) that think that if they are overweight they are not allowed to enjoy their food in order to lose the weight. Not true! Eat with gusto, joy and pleasure.
Find more real, whole foods you enjoy that satisfy you. A rosemary roasted chicken with fresh vegetables, a chickpea curry on a bed of coconut rice … an Asian noodle bowl … what flavours do you enjoy?
— Be sure to incorporate lots of stress reduction activities in your week to minimize your inclination to eat under stress.
Many don’t even realize that they are stress eating until they in fact incorporate more exercise into their routines and start losing the cravings for certain foods. The afternoon candy bar becomes less appealing.
Health isn’t about running around eating pellets and green leather. It’s about enjoying every bite.
Pay attention to what feelings foods bring you. In order to make peace with those feelings, be sure to remove the words “can’t,” “shouldn’t” or “not supposed to” from your vocabulary when it comes to your food choices.
Even if your not eating the right foods, start with removing your guilt around it.
Restriction and guilt will get you nowhere fast, whereas accountability of your choices will get you where you should be: enjoying every last bite in peace.
Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Thursday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.