Letting Go of “Not Allowed”

I have a very special guest blogger today, sharing her story and how far she’s come in her journey to a positive relationship with food. AJ is a bright, beautiful client of mine – she’s come a long way, and I hope you’ll find her experience to be an inspiration! 

My whole teenage and adult life I have wanted to lose weight and get fit, and I have tried a lot of different diets along the way. Sometimes they worked…for a while, until I got sick of the obsessing and feeling deprived, so I gave up. Now I understand why nothing worked long term, because every diet is based on ‘Not Allowed’ and ‘Not Allowed’ doesn’t work!

Telling myself I couldn’t have carbs or chocolate or fruit just made me want those things a hundred times more. Counting calories burned in workouts and not allowing myself to eat proper meals unless I burned enough calories at the gym would lead to me completely skipping the gym and eating pizza and then of course came the guilt. I am a bit of a perfectionist so if I couldn’t do it properly then I wasn’t going to do it at all.

A big part of my health journey is learning balance. Allowing myself to have a treat once or twice a week when I really want it. I do try to choose healthier versions (dark chocolate over milk chocolate, etc.) but if I’m out with friends and I do end up indulging in something with refined sugar or gluten I make sure I enjoy it… and then let it go! Because guilt can very easily follow a choice, and I think that is much more damaging than any meal.

For me sometimes it’s enough to just have chocolate in the fridge if I’m craving it. Just buying it and giving myself permission to have that treat food helps me to let go of the craving – and not feel like I need it anymore. Not that I’m saying don’t eat it if you want to! I definitely make sure that when I really want a treat I do indulge.

My family often ask me “are you allowed to eat ____ (fill in the blank) at the moment?” I am helping them understand that I am allowed to eat anything I chose. And that is a very freeing statement! Letting go of the restrictions and rules around food and not accepting the guilty feelings over food choices is so empowering.

Some tips and tricks that have really helped me let go of the ‘Not Allowed’ mentality:

  • Allow myself a treat once or twice a week
  • Be present and really enjoy my treat food when I do indulge
  • Let go of any guilty feelings around food choices
  • Work with a nutritionist to build a healthy food plan that incorporates treats
  • Practice keeping life balanced
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