Food is no longer just food, is it?
Food is calories, fat grams, sugar grams, complete proteins or protein combinations, seasonal or off-season, paleo-friendly, clean, dirty…
You get it.
I was there for a lonnnggg time. Hell, I got to the point where I was trying to be so perfect with food that I couldn’t even guiltlessly eat a banana in April because bananas are a winter food and not a spring food according to Ayurveda (which, by the way, is not a diet - it’s a traditional and beautiful Indian healing system; I just managed to turn it into a diet).
More than anything, food was either good or bad. It made me either skinny or fat. When I ate, how I ate, and how much I ate either made me worthy or worthless.
How stressful is that?! Eating, something that we do every single day, becoming the top stressor of my life. And there’s no escaping it. A girl’s gotta eat.
Here’s what I want you to know about restrictive eating (which almost always leads to binge eating almond butter in front of your cupboard after your roommates have gone to bed, am I right?) -- Your eating “issue” is always directly related to body image. Lots of people think that they’re two separate struggles, but they’re totally interlinked.
Imagine if you didn’t feel any hatred or dissatisfaction toward your body at all. How would your eating be different? Would you allow yourself to share appetizers with friends at happy hour? Would you forget about the chocolate chips in your cabinet because you’ve got better things on your mind? Would the binges stop because you knew there was no restricting in your future ever again?
Just think about it for a second. Think about your next meal and how you plan on it going (because most restrictive eaters love to plan their meals). Now think about how different it would be if you suddenly had the body of your dreams - and no food would change that?
Most women say that they’d want to take care of their body. They’d allow themselves to eat some of those “bad” foods, but they probably wouldn’t want them all the time because they’ll always be there. Eating one “bad” food wouldn’t lead to eating ALL the “bad” foods, because you never have to “start over” on Monday; you don’t need to get it all in before you go back to restricting. When there’s no wagon to fall off of, the pressure of eating falls away.
With the body of your dreams, you’d probably feel like your body deserves respect - meaning you won’t be force-feeding her Oreos after “throwing in the towel”. You’d also probably feel like you could afford to eat some Oreos now and then, because why not? Your body is lovely and sometimes she wants Oreos. Because they’re delicious.
Wanna know the best part?!
You can begin this freedom with food starting NOW.
No, you don’t need more control over yourself in order to get out of this cycle; isn’t too much control what got you here in the first place?
What you do need is a mindset shift. There’s nothing wrong with your body except for any emotional judgment or label you’ve attached to her according to an impossible standard.
The best part about this mindset shift is that you allow yourself to live in the present instead of the unattainable future. You get to learn about your body in the now instead of forcing her to eat and perform a certain way so you can, one day, hopefully, with enough willpower, have a body that you were never meant to have in the first place.
Over the next day, as you go about your meals, ask yourself, “How/what/when would I eat if I were totally in love with my body as she is?” And notice how your answers flow through you. Listen.
It’s SO difficult to unwind this tangle of diet BS that’s been forced into your brain through media outlets, Paleo magazines, food “experts”, or advice from anyone or anything other than yourself. So just be patient with yourself as you fish through the details, okay? You won’t undo this overnight, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of it.