This is a post not only for those recovering from an eating disorder, but anyone who has over the years banned a certain food from their lives and turned it into a guilty pleasure. This may be due to media brain-washing, family role-modelling, a desperate desire to avoid weight gain or an embedded obsession. The fact is, we should be able to eat a little bit of what we fancy without beating ourselves up about it. Not always as easy as it sounds. So this post considers how we may go about making peace with these foods.
How do we give ourselves permission to eat after years of restriction?
Gaining that green light around food is a vital step to reaching intuitive eating enlightenment so exploring how this can be achieved is important. It is never going to be an overnight miracle but something we can work upon by tapping into our own fears and by learning from others success stories.
What are your fears? The reframing of negative thoughts (commonly these involve weight gain, loss of control and fat distribution) is a good starting point. Our bodies are robust but will only take so much until they cry out for some care and nourishment. Concentrating on healthy signs or re-growth and renewal is beneficial.
Such reframed thoughts may involve - Food is for healing, Food is nourishment NOT numbers, MY BODY needs restoration NOT restriction.
Such positive thoughts need to be constantly drawn upon, as if we have a 'fairy godmother' tapping us on the shoulder whenever we are in doubt. In the absence of the fairy godmother we need to create this consistent flow of prodding and reminding ourselves. I read an interesting blog post recently called 'How Post-It notes Cured my Ice-Cream Obsession'. We can learn from this story in which the writer reframes her past post-it notes of negativity (for example - A Moment on the lips a Life-time on the Hips!) and creates a stream of new and empowering ones (You have Permission to Eat Ice-Cream!/This is NO Big Deal/This is Totally Allowed). Overtime she loses her fear of opening an ice-cream pot and learns to eat her once forbidden food moderately and without guilt. The Post iT notes are a big part of her healing, perhaps as she took control of her thoughts and consistently challenged them.
How about trying this strategy out with your own challenging foods? Write your own post-it notes and start sticking them on all the foods which were once forbidden but are now finding their way into your cupboards or fridge. You could get quite lyrical with it, I'm thinking - Go Go Go with the Avocado or I'm having NO scuffle with this chocolate truffle. Even - I am at One with this scone, I am out of this rut with the Nut! The possibilities are endless!
Also keep in mind the following key words to push further towards Intuitive Eating:
Challenge - Persistence - Self-belief - Determination - A Sense of Worth - Empowerment - Strength - Hope - Faith - Self-care - Patience