You never allow yourself a treat or indulgence because you feel guilty at the thought of eating anything but perfectly healthy foods. You fear unhealthy foods. I can so relate.
And when you do finally treat yourself, you cannot help but overeat/binge on those foods. Burying yourself in huge amounts of guilt and self-loathing.
Deprivation and restriction = overeating and bingeing.
This is why indulging should be a part of a healthy life and why it helps people actually stabilize 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 (a.k.a. binging) because of my ‘I’ve blown it…may as well keep going’ sort of mentality. I would bury myself in guilty thoughts.
This would also cause my metabolism and body so much stress this 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 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 chocolate tomorrow.’ Often this will help you to not binge on the chocolate. Knowing this seems to alleviate overeating or bingeing.
Give yourself permission. Give up restriction.
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’. As mentioned – when you become a wholefood eater and give up dieting – there should be no such thing as good or bad food. You just commit to eating well 80-90% of the time… Then relax with the rest… Watch your body heal.
- ENJOY IT– Sit down, savour your indulgence and be mindful about how you’re eating. Put away your phones, computers 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. Whats the point in feeling bad/guilt thoughts 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 an indulgence – in fact it is good for your body.
Eating can be such a pleasurable experience. Don’t rush it and eat what your body is craving. Try your best to remove all judgment 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 judgment about what you are about to eat – instead focus on slowly enjoying each mouthful. Judgment around food causes stress, which makes it actually harder to digest that food. Remember that 80% of the time your goal is to eat nourishing wholefoods and then there will be 20% of imperfect eating – that’s balance.
So enjoy each meal. Food is so good for the soul.