If you never allow yourself a treat or to indulge because it makes you feel guilty, I can totally relate. Especially if when you do eat ‘unhealthy’ foods you start binge-ing, and enter a cycle of self-lothing and guilt. Sadly, a lot of us have been there… myself included. This happens because…
Deprivation and restriction lead to overeating and bingeing.
This is why indulging should be a part of a healthy life and why it helps people actually stabilise their weight.
I used to be a chronic fad dieter. I would restrict and deprive myself with food. I would only eat diet foods that were low in calories. I would then break and eat something I was craving – ‘a forbidden food’ – and then I found myself unable to stop eating that food because of my ‘I’ve blown it… might as well keep going’ mentality. Then, I would bury myself in guilty thoughts.
This would also cause my metabolism and body stress, which made my weight very difficult to control.
I believe indulgence has helped me heal my relationship with food
Let’s reset our minds to embrace indulgence in moderation (I show you how to do this in my 8-week Program). I believe this is the secret to finding freedom with food, and still losing weight. It’s about remembering that you can always have more chocolate or another piece of cake at a later date. You don’t need to eat it all now. I believe it comes from a deep fear that there’s not enough food or a fear of not being enough.
Know that you are enough, and that you have enough.
Why can’t you tell yourself that you can have some later or tomorrow? Give yourself permission to have more. Tell yourself, ‘I can have more tomorrow.’ Often this will help you stop when you are full, and by giving yourself permission, you give up restrictive habits.
An exercise in indulgence
- Firstly, you need to commit to giving up dieting for life. My book, The Healthy Life, goes into depth on how I personally did this. But dieting causes us to have an abnormal and restrictive relationship with food which often results in overeating, bingeing, orthorexia and a yo-yo weight. This is no way to treat your beautiful body.
- Plan for it: If you’re prepared and excited about the indulgence, you’re less likely to feel the guilt. I plan 1-2 treat meals every week. I commit to them because they allow there to be balance in my overly healthy life hehe.
- Avoid terms like “cheat meal” or “giving in”. You’re not cheating on anything or anyone. You’re not giving in, you’re in control and have made a conscious decision to indulge. You are just being human.
- Relieve the pressure to eat perfectly at all times. No-one does at all time. Not even nutritionists! And whoever does has a controlling relationship with themselves and this is NOT healthy.
- Let go of the negative self-talk: “I am eating too much”, “This food isn’t healthy”, “This food will make me fat”, “I have no willpower”, “I should be eating less” – these sorts of thoughts really do no good for our health. Let go of the word ‘should.’ Try committing to eating foods that fuel you most of the time… Then, relax with the rest and watch your body heal.
- Enjoy it! Sit down, savour your indulgence and be mindful about how you’re eating. Put away your phone, computer and turn off the TV – create a peaceful environment. Be thankful to have food and remember that it is abundant and plentiful. This is not your only meal for the day, so you don’t need to over do it. What’s the point in feeling bad thought after that beautiful indulgence? It only adds stress to your body. Breathe it out – let go. Remind yourself that it was good for your body and soul – and that your body can handle it.
Eating can be such a pleasurable experience. Don’t rush it and eat what your body is craving. Try your best to remove all judgement about what you are about to eat – instead, focus on slowly enjoying each mouthful. When you start to become a conscious eater you learn the art of moderation – you become aware of when you are full. Try your best to remove all judgement about what you are about to eat – instead focus on slowly enjoying each mouthful.
My Program is full of incredible tips to help you learn how to indulge in moderation! Find out more here.