Today I’m reflecting on some diet-borne thoughts that I catch myself in sometimes. Even after practicing intuitive eating for a couple of years now, those thoughts still persist. That is how pervasive diet culture is/was! Read on to hear me pick apart some of those thoughts that still run through my brain and how I combat them with intuitive eating.
Ditching the Diet – Intuitive Eating in Practice
1.I already ate one of ___ today so I shouldn’t have another one.
This is a diet thought that still pops up fairly often. I think it’s borne from my nutrition brain telling me that “variety is best”. For example, yesterday I had one of my homemade sandwich buns at my morning snack as a pb&j. Then in the evening as I was fixing our plates of BBQ, that little voice in my head whispered, “You already had one of those buns today. You should choose a different carbohydrate for dinner.”
NO, these buns are amazing vessels for a BBQ sandwich and I’m having another bun. Because the reality is that the difference between a bun, piece of bread or tortilla wrap (my other options) once it’s in the body is minimal. Yes I want to include whole grains in my day and yes I generally crave a variety of carbohydrates, but if IN THAT MOMENT what will satisfy my food-pleasure needs at that meal is a homemade bun to go with my BBQ, I’m doing it.
Food rules begone.
2. If I didn’t exercise today, I should probably eat less.
HA. Pregnancy is actually a really great time to practice bring in-tune with one’s hunger and fullness signals because usually they’re so different from life as you knew it before. I’m pretty good these days about listening to my hunger and always honoring it with a meal or snack. However, the idea that a tough workout earns me an extra big serving of dessert is still in the wayyy back part of my mind (leftover from restrictive eating days and obsessive exercise days).
Friends, if you worked out harder than usual, you may experience an increase in hunger later that day or even the next day. You should honor that. But an extra big serving of dessert will feel the same on your body whether you worked out that day or didn’t. It’s only a different feeling on your mind- you allowing yourself to feel guilty vs justified. So tell your mind to shut up and honor your need for a sweet bite. Serve yourself an amount that is appropriate for what you need/want in that moment, with the goal being to finish and be comfortable and satisfied (pleasure AND fullness).
3. “Saving up” calories for indulgent treats later in the day.
If I know I’m going out for a fancy dinner or for dessert later, my remaining diet-thoughts tell me to “save up” some calories in my “calorie bank” to “spend” later on.
THIS IS CRAZINESS! Calories are NOT money to be spent at your leisure. Calories represent the energy your body needs to function. I’m NOT going to be my best self if I deprive my body of energy it needs earlier in the day just to pack it full later on.
I do use my nutrition knowledge and awareness of my body to make smart choices so I can physically feel my best, that’s just common sense. Maybe this looks like… if I know I have plans for ice cream with a friend later, I might not have a big afternoon dessert, simply because I’d like to enjoy my ice cream without a stomach ache from a bit too much sweet.
But I’m leaving guilt, shame, and food rules at the door. No more planning all my “indulgences” ahead of time. That’s not eating intuitively. If I happen to have eaten pancakes with lots of yummy maple syrup for breakfast and a friend spontaneously asks me to go grab a smoothie with her later, I’m not letting my brain go to that place where it calculates all the sugar that was in the maple syrup and then all the sugar that’s going to be in a fruit smoothie. NO. I am very capable of getting a smoothie, sipping on it and enjoying my quality time with a friend, and then stopping when/if I NEED TO because I’m full/satisfied.
Let go of diet rules and you will begin to experience more freedom and joy in your daily life.
If you’ve ever dieted in the past, chances are those thoughts and rules you had to follow during that time are still rumbling around in a deep part of your mind. It may take active intention for years to come to continue fighting those thoughts. But the more you practice and remind yourself of the truth, the more joyful your eating (and living!) will be.
Come join us in the next Wellness Workshop if you’re wanting to move yourself to a place with less stress around food and more enjoyment of a healthy lifestyle. I’d love to partner with you on this journey!