Food is tricky. But is it, though? No. In reality, it’s not. Food is just food. We MAKE it tricky with our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Here are 3 things that are true about food that might go against popular opinion:
1. You know what you need. Your body knows.
Many of us have been seduced by marketing and wellness culture to trust “gurus” who have the answer that perhaps worked for them (or they have something to sell) but they’re not you. They have different bodies, different needs, and different motivations. Nobody has the answer for everybody. Remember that. Take what works for you and leave behind the rest. Or better yet, learn how to get back in touch with the wisdom of your body and how to trust yourself again.
2. It’s ok to eat for reasons other than hunger.
It’s ok to eat to soothe emotions, or when you’re bored, or to celebrate or mourn. Really, it’s normal and 100% ok. If your default reaction to dealing with stress has been linked to food and you feel like you have no self-control to choose to eat or not to eat when stressed, anxious, sad, bored, etc, then that’s something you can work with and rewire if you want to. Be kind to yourself.
3. Dieting can be a dangerous trap.
I’m proof of this and know it’s true for many others. Dieting that’s restrictive creates survival-based habits in the brain that we can feel powerless against. Simply put, restriction leads to overeating and binging. Period. If you obsess, often overeat, or binge and don’t know why it’s likely because you’ve restricted food to the point that puts your brain in survival mode. This shuts down our ability to make executive-level choices that come from our higher brain and truly nourish us. If you’d rather eat in joy mode rather than survival mode, stop dieting and learn how to veto lower-brain urges. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, your brain is just doing its job. It needs to know you’re not going to starve which is why you need to feed yourself adequately and find ways to say no to the urges to obsess and binge. Soon enough the urges will disappear and you’ll regain your power to choose.
A few mindful eating tips:
- allow all foods
- eat when your body tells you you’re hungry, not when the clock says it’s time to eat
- eat adequately until satisfied
And finally, here are instructions for how to eat:
Eat what you want when you want it, mindfully.
Enjoy every bite!
The following resources were absolutely crucial in helping me understand disordered eating and overcoming it: