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.
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.
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.
You have permission to..
- Eat what you want in the moment, rather than a replacement food that still leaves you wanting more
- Not eat veggies / fruits every day
- Honor your cravings
- Eat foods that make you feel comforted sometimes
- Not label your food as “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”
- Feel satisfied after eating (not just full)
- Realize that perfect doesn’t exist and intuitive eating can be “messy”
- 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
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.
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?
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 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?