When I tell people that having a healthy relationship with food means that you don’t restrict yourself, may of them respond by saying that if they were to tell themselves that they could eat anything that they want… they’d be afraid that they would eat doughnuts and cookies all day and get fat.
If you‚’ve read many of my articles on emotional eating, by now you might be thinking:
“So, okay, no bad food and good food lists, no depriving myself of the foods that I want, and eating my favorite comfort foods is okay? Yeah right, if I did that I’d be as big as a house!”
This is a really common fear. People think that if they let go of their tightly held grip over food and give themselves permission to eat the foods that they’ve been telling themselves for years are “naughty” then they will go off the deep end and binge on everything in sight.
I know that‚’s what I was most scared of! Back when I reached my goal weight the first time through calorie counting and a strict exercise plan, I was so afraid that if I ate anything other than my tightly regimented plan, that I’d gain all the weight back.
And guess what happened… exactly that, but only because I believed it would
When I changed my belief system about my body and food, and I learned to give myself permission to eat whatever I want in a loving and nourishing way, the tendency to go off the deep end disappeared.
When you first begin to shift your beliefs and are working on developing a healthier relationship with food, it’s important to remind yourself often that:
- Food can (and should) be nourishing AND satisfying.
- Eating is like sex, it’s supposed to be enjoyable. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t do it and mankind would not go on, right?
So then how do you know what foods are going to be most satisfying and nourishing? You ask yourself, or rather, you ask your body.
It sounds silly, but I guarantee if you begin asking yourself (in your head, or out loud if you are really daring) something as simple as:
“What foods would be most satisfying and nourishing for me today?”
…you will be amazed at the wisdom you will receive in return.
Tune Into the Wisdom of Your Body
One time, as an experiment, I went a whole week eating a plant-based, vegan diet just to see if I would like it. At the end of the week, I remember I laid down on the bed, closed my eyes and asked myself what I wanted to eat that day and almost immediate both “egg sandwich” and “a steak” popped into my head.
I don’t really eat either that often to begin with, but it was really interesting that these were the things that my body wanted. I’m not saying these foods are best for everyone or for me all the time, it’s just what my body wanted right in that moment.
You could do the same experiment and find out that you are completely nourished and satisfied by a plant-based diet. The only way for you to know is to start tuning into the wisdom of your own body.
If up until now your food options have been somewhat limited, start experimenting. Go to the bookstore or Amazon and buy a few books that will help you try out some new interesting options.
The path to happiness and health is not paved with deprivation and fear. This is an important point to remember in achieving your dream body and also really any endeavor in life.
What have you learned by tuning into the wisdom of your body more?
Sheila Viers is an Emotional Eating Expert, Holistic Life Coach and co-founder of Live Well 360.