How do you stop the cycle of restrictive/compulsive eating? As scary it seems, the ONLY way to get off that ride is to close your eyes and LET GO of your white-knuckle grip of control. Today marks 35 days since I let go and rejected diet culture. I have allowed myself to enjoy food with NO restrictions, NO rules, NO guilt or shame, and entertained NO negative thoughts about my diet or body. Of course, the negative thoughts came a knockin’, but I pushed them away, and instead focused on respect and gratitude for the body I call home. Despite the fear that I would go off the rails and gain a ton of weight, I haven’t gained ONE SINGLE POUND. Here is what has happened. I’ve made a genuine effort to honor my body’s hunger and satiety cues. My mantras are “I have unlimited permission to eat. There is no morality attached to food. It’s okay if I eat all of this, and it’s okay if I don’t. I can always have more later.” If I’m hungry, I simply allow myself to eat. No rationalization of what I already had or what I’m eating later or if I’ve worked out enough to “deserve” it. I just eat. I try to take time to be present with the flavors and textures, allow myself to truly enjoy it, and pay close attention to when my body says “enough.” I make an effort to plan balanced meals that I enjoy and to eat my fruits and veggies.
While I have a long way to go in healing my disordered relationship with food, I’m also noticing small, encouraging changes. Two of those are the pint of Ben and Jerry’s that I enjoyed over the course of an entire week. WITHOUT that inner voice shaming me or the “last supper” mentality since I normally don’t let myself eat it. I also enjoyed some of this cinnamon bun from my local coffee shop and genuinely didn’t want the rest right now. (See photo). A month ago, I would have scarfed the whole thing down and let the negative thoughts keep me from even enjoying it. Then I would have beat myself up for eating it, said “eff it” and eaten crap the rest of the day, only to get salads and exercise my ass off all week to make up for it. We should NOT spend that much mental energy over what we eat. Baby steps, y’all. I’m a work in progress!