When I decided to leave the traffic circle of dieting, I knew I needed to first make peace with food.
It’s not that I had issues with food before dieting, it’s that I needed to reframe my mindset around what foods to eat and not eat. I needed to give myself permission to eat all the food again – because I can!
Diet mentality makes us label food according to whether it will help us gain or lose weight. Is it healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, high carbs or low carbs? Being on a diet is equivalent to being at war with food. It makes us give the power to inanimate objects. It makes our food choices feel like moral choices.
I was not aware of how I was categorizing food during my accidental dieting journey (I talked about the journey in this post). The lure and challenge of weight loss keeps us focused on the promised goal, not the actual process.
I’m happy to say that I have moved beyond that stage now. I am back to not labeling foods (most of the time) and permitting myself to eat what I want…to a point.
I spent a few weeks eating all the baked goods, desserts, and ice cream on a daily basis. It was so fun, and everything was so good.
I felt liberated with this permission, and glad to be eating everything with my family again. I doubt they noticed the change, but they did stop asking if I would join them – because they knew I would. I’m also pretty sure they sensed that I was just happier in general.
Something did shift after those few weeks. When I tuned into what I wanted to eat, I also tuned back in to how I felt after eating. As much as I loved all the goodies I was eating again with gusto, I didn’t always love how I felt afterwards.
Some things made me feel great (fruit! sourdough bread! pizza! rice! THAI FOOD!) and some things left me wishing I didn’t eat them in the first place (bagels, too much cake, dairy ice cream).
The body doesn’t lie.
Knowing that I can choose whatever food I want to eat, now I don’t feel that sense of limitation. Now that I am tuning into my overall experience, I can decide to eat anything I want that also makes me feel good.
It doesn’t mean that I won’t eat bagels, or cake, or ice cream… but now I can check in with my inner voice and ask:
- Is a bite or two of ice cream enough to satisfy my longing for Jeni’s without giving me a stomachache?
- Can I eat a half a bagel and not be bloated?
- Do I need that much cake to be happy?
When my food choices align with what I want to eat and how I want to feel, rainbows and daisies DO appear (inside of me). It’s the sense of true satisfaction. It’s the definition of “that hit the spot” that my husband and his mom say often. It’s the way we were meant to eat, enjoy and respect the foods that nurture us.