This week is eating disorder awareness week. While I have never had an eating disorder, there was a time where I was a little too hyperfocused on food and exercise. In the past, I believed certain foods were good and bad. I now know that no foods are good or bad, but some nourish me and make me feel better than others. Many of my clients are trying to break free from restrictive thinking and disordered eating habits, so I am very passionate about this topic.
Giving yourself grace is a big theme with many of my clients. And myself, sometimes too. We live in a 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.
I think 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? You made an autonomous decision intuitively, in the moment, rather than an expectation you set for yourself the night before. Or, heck, 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. 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.
With Your Body, You Have Permission To…
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
With Food, You Have Permission To…
Eat what you want in the moment
Not eat veggies / fruits every day
Eat foods that make you feel comforted sometimes
Not label your food as “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”
Eat to satisfaction not just fullness
Realize that perfect doesn’t exist and intuitive eating can be “messy”
Eat the food you want, rather than a replacement food that still leaves you wanting more
Find pleasure in food again
Not pre-plan your meals so you can decide what you want in the moment
Eat foods you like and feel like eating
Create a pleasurable and relaxed environment where you eat
Eat the same food 3 meals in a row
ENJOY YOUR FOOD
With Exercise, You Have Permission To…
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
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 Also Have Permission To…
Forget about the past and stop worrying about the future
Say no to things you don’t want to do
Read a non-health related book for fun
Not get weighed at the doctors
Honor your health without a focus on exercise and food
Sleep in and forget obligations
For more self-care resources, check out this post.
What are you giving yourself permission to do this week?