Tell me if this sounds familiar. You are about to embark on the latest diet plan of the moment. This diet requires you to avoid eating certain food that you love most; maybe that’s pasta, chocolate cake, or in some cases, even fruit is forbidden. You assign a date for which you are going to “start” this plan and in the days leading up to the “start” you overindulge in all the foods you love that you will have to give up while you are on this diet. Why do you put yourself through this torture?
Intuitive eating restricts no foods. It encourages learning to make a place for all your favorites by exercising your right to honor your hunger, while still respecting your fullness. Eat healthfully but allow yourself to enjoy food without punishing yourself or feeling guilty. If you truly want a bagel for breakfast, then by all means, have a bagel; but tune in. You may find that once you take the label off that bagel, half will be all you need to feel satisfied.
Food should not make you feel bad. Diet plans foster this mentality if you decide to eat something that is not on “the diet,” conjuring up words like “cheating” and “falling off”—both negative terms that take away from the joy that those foods can and should bring you. Yet when you are eating intuitively and giving yourself permission to eat any food, how much and how often you eat that food completely changes. You are mentally more clear and less stressed about what you eat, which usually leads to better eating habits in the long run.
So don’t forbid your favorite foods. Everything can be part of a healthy eating plan as long as you are listening to your hunger and fullness signals.
Your turn to take action: What food do you love that you have given up in the past?