Nowadays it seems like we all have a list of foods that we simply won’t allow ourselves to have. For me, it used to be things like chips, trail mix, nuts, peanut butter, ice cream, candy and any kind of baked good or pastry. I’m sure I’m leaving things out, too if I’m being totally honest.
Due to my warped dieting mentality, I really believed that I couldn’t control myself around these foods. I didn’t trust that I could eat what I really wanted then stop when I was finished. Instead I fought tooth and nail to abstain from those foods and ended up eating a whole lot more food in the long run. Had I just allowed myself a few cookies when I wanted them without any guilt attached to it, I could have avoided the binge and probably maintained a lower weight.
But can it really be that easy? Can we really have our cake (or cookies, or pizza, or candy) and eat it too?
Yes, we can!
It sort of makes sense to think if we just give up the foods we think are sabotaging our efforts that we’ll be better off . I thought the same exact way so I totally get that mentality. Out of sight out of mind, right? But wouldn’t social situations feel much more fun if you didn’t panic about what foods you’re going to eat when you get there? Doesn’t it sound awesome to be able to buy your favorite treats and not worry about polishing it off in a day and feeling horrible about yourself after? Or how about not giving these certain foods a second thought before or after you eat them? That’s where the magic is.
Now I’m going to teach you how to get there.
Three Steps to Building Trust Around Food
1) Intentionally buy a few things you consider a treat every single time you go to the grocery store. Yep. Buy them on purpose. Buy them each time you go.
2) Eat these foods as you want throughout the week being mindful that you can always have more if you want, there’s no need to finish it all right now.
3) Know and accept that you might eat more than you think you “should” and if that happens, it’s just part of the process.
Here’s how this worked for me:
I would intentionally buy treats like ice cream sandwiches, chocolate covered coconut and peanut butter crackers from the grocery store. I would eat them when I wanted, sometimes going back for seconds (there were definitely days where I ate two ice cream sandwiches and chocolates and chips, etc.) and told myself it was no big deal- because it really isn’t. Once I finished the ice cream or candy or crackers for the week I would tell myself that I’d get more next time I go to the grocery store and I would follow through with that. I would keep buying these foods until it seemed kind of unnecessary. The reason it seemed unnecessary to buy them was because they just weren’t as appealing anymore. The novelty wore off. I no longer considered them special or super desirable because I could literally have them any time I wanted them.
It took time, it took work and it took patience, but I reconditioned myself to know that I no food is ever off-limits. Using this method actually helped me drop weight as well so it was a huge win/win!
Side Note: I actually bought the ice cream sandwiches last week for the first time in a while and they’re still hanging out in my freezer. Instead of lasting me four days, they’re lasting me for about a 10 days so far.
This isn’t a quick fix or an overnight thing. Allowing yourself permission to have anything you want and trust that you’ll be able to handle it is scary but with lots of practice and expecting slips along the way it’s completely 100% doable and it’s so worth the final outcome. Food suddenly has no control over you and there are no more forbidden.
Whether your goal is weight loss, a healthier lifestyle or you’re stick of food obsession running your mind I hope the strategy above gives you some hope that you can still treat yourself quite a bit and stay sane and healthy. You might still over eat something from time to time and that’s ok…expect that to happen every so often-remember my last post on eating a whole pizza and dessert and wine? Shit happens. This is a HUGE practice in patience and trusting yourself.
Trust that even though this method sounds freaking scary as hell, it will give you freedom from obsessing over foods you think you shouldn’t have.
Trust that you DO have control over what you eat and how much you eat.
Trust that even if you overeat, you’ll be just fine because you can always get back to it on your next meal
Trust that if you allow yourself treats when you want them, nothing bad will happen. If anything, you’ll be better off for it because you won’t feel deprived.
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