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You Have Unconditional Permission to Eat

This week is eating disorder awareness week.

While I have never had an eating disorder, there was a time when I was obsessed with food and too hyperfocused on exercise.

In the past, I believed certain foods were good and bad, hence leading me to feeling guilty after eating certain foods.

I now know that no foods are good or bad, but some nourish me and make me feel better than others.

Thanks to practicing being flexible with food, I realize that at times I want foods that are healthy because my body actually wants to feel good.

And other times, I want less healthy foods because my brain wants to feel good. It is in these times, I’ll wonder why am I craving carbs, and it’s because my brain wants some sort of satisfaction.

I want to feel satisfied in my body for that time.

You don’t just feel satisfied after eating by only eating fruits and vegetables.

Many of my clients are trying to break free from restrictive thinking and disordered eating habits because fad diet’s don’t work.

white plate with butter chicken with rice

Unconditional Permission to Eat – Give Yourself Grace

Giving yourself grace is a big theme with many of my clients. And myself, sometimes too.

We have to eat to live.

And we’re not expected to be perfect, despite what the headlines and marketing may make it seem.

We’re not robots, we’re fluid humans with different needs.

stepping on scale that says help

Food provides fuel for our bodies (our vehicles) to run appropriately.

While you don’t need permission to eat 3 meals a day and 2+ snacks, I’m giving it to you.

You have permission to fuel yourself adequately.

With any foods that you may choose.

You have permission to eat and honor hunger as often as you feel it.

You have permission to stop eating when you feel fullness, or even beyond that. We’re not perfect and some days you just need to eat more.

empty plate with pie crumbs left

You have permission to..

black and white quote

Giving Yourself Permission in Other Areas

Sometimes, learning to give yourself unconditional permission to eat means learning to do this in other areas of life, too.

We live in a dieting culture of “go go go,” and one where we bestow high expectations on ourselves that only set us up for disappointment if we don’t meet them. 

We think we have to do xyz every day and complete each day’s to-do list for it to be successful and “productive.”

I am certainly guilty of this, and I’m realizing I need to be a little more realistic in what I can fit into a day, and still have my day be enjoyable.

checklist on chalkboard for to do list

Once we learn to let go of some of these lines that we draw for ourselves, it’s easier mentally, to find freedom.

For example, maybe you think you have to get up at 5am to go to the early morning Orange Theory class, and if you don’t, your whole day will be thrown off.

But, what if you sleep in and skip it, because you listened to your body and need for extra sleep and/or a slow morning?

Isn’t that freeing – to just stop compulsive exercise?

women doing upper body workout for runners

You made an autonomous decision intuitively, in the moment, rather than an expectation you set for yourself the night before.

Or, maybe you plan your workouts by the week so you set it days ago.

I used to be like that.

But now, I enjoy the fluidity each day brings, and I realize some days I’m more motivated than others to engage in postpartum running.

Other days, I need peace, quiet and long walks.

So, I thought it would be nice to make a list of things, as a reminder to all of us, that we have permission to do.

To help us let go of the tight ropes we sometimes impart on ourselves.

Practice Giving Yourself Permission

Try some of these examples to learn to give yourself permission in life, and also permission to eat.

  • Wear clothes that make you feel good
  • Throw away clothes that bring out the comparison trap or don’t make you feel good
  • Take care of yourself, first and foremost
  • Unfollow people who promote the “thin ideal” or bring you down
  • Not plan your exercise out
  • Skip an exercise class if you don’t feel like going
  • Move your body in joyful ways (some days, that means a walk, some days it might mean just going up and down the stairs)
  • Sign up for a race if you feel like it (make sure to eat before running in the morning)
  • Set exercise goals or move just for the joy of it (there does not NEED to be a goal in sight, despite what wellness professionals tell you)
You Have Permission To...An ode to intuitive eating and fighting for your health

You Also Have Permission To…

  • Forget about the past and stop worrying about the future
  • Say no to things you don’t want to do
  • Pamper yourself
  • Read a non-health related book for fun (or an intuitive eating book)
  • Not get weighed at the doctors
  • Honor your health without a focus on exercise and food
  • Sleep in and forget obligations

What are you giving yourself permission to do this week?

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  1. I love this post! This semester I have really been working on giving myself permission to sleep-in rather than getting a workout in. It has been incredibly helpful in feeling rested during this busy time, which is so important. It can be hard to make that choice, especially when I have some running goals I want to achieve, but I know it is the best choice for my well-being. It has also been incredibly freeing to not feel any guilt when I choose sleep, I actually relish it!

  2. Loving this. It starts in the mind, the recovery truly from EDs, and knowing that I have freedom in Jesus to honor my body, to honor the hunger, to not feel like I HAVE to work out, to move in a happy way and not move in a way that I feel like I HAVE to because I want to be like other people, permission to enjoy food when I do feel ‘hungry’ but my stomach isn’t exactly growling, permission to NOT judge food choices in myself or others, and permission to ENJOY food. I love that you put that, because that’s one of the first HUGE steps back towards recovery.

    1. Enjoying food is a fundamental part of intuitive eating, because its teaching us to get in touch with our bodies and understand what foods we do enjoy. I love that you are actively working towards this Emily!

  3. Love this! I really believe you have to think about what is truely of benefit to your overall (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) wellbeing, not just what you feel like you should be doing. Sometimes that might be a tough workout, sometimes that might be some Netflix lounge time.

  4. I love this post! I 110% agree with you that sometimes it’s way more important to skip a workout to get extra sleep or just have a mental health break if you need it. One skipped workout won’t make you gain 20 pounds just like one salad won’t help you lose 20 pounds.

    One thing I’m giving myself permission to do this week is take it easy on chores. While it sounds silly, I feel like I’ve been going overboard on chores and it’s draining so I’m giving myself a break!

  5. This week I’m giving myself permission to go to bed at 7:30 and wake up whenever. Also, depending on how the weekend goes, I am giving myself permission to negotiate with my boss for weekends off. It’s important to me and if I do well at my event this weekend, I’ll feel like I deserve to try.