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YES, I Eat Cake!

Funny thing about what I do for a living. Most people think I don’t eat cake, sweets, or what they call “junk food”. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I don’t call food “junk”. I call less nutrient-rich food “play foods”. And, yes I do eat play foods when I feel like it.

 

Two weeks ago, I went into the local bakery to buy a graduation cake for my daughter, Jennifer, who graduated college in May! She graduated college the same day she started grad school and unfortunately, she had to miss graduation to attend her first day of classes (she is going for a degree in occupational therapy – I’m so proud of her!). Jennifer felt bad about missing graduation, and I wanted to make a big celebration for her on the evening of her big day. So, I planned a family dinner, bought her a card, some graduation balloons, and went into the bakery to buy a cake that we can present to her while singing “Happy graduation…”.

 

I was standing on line and turned around to see a man from my community. He looked at me in shock that I was in the bakery, ordering cupcakes (I decided not to buy a cake, the cupcakes looked more fun!). He knows that I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and I guess upon seeing me, he immediately thought I don’t belong in a bakery. I felt the need to start explaining to him that my daughter graduated and we are having a celebration, to which he put his hand up and said “okay, not a problem”. I left the bakery really angry…at the man for assuming I wouldn’t eat the cupcakes and at myself for feeling the need to start explaining why I was buying them.

 

The following week was my younger daughter, Lauren’s, birthday. I went to the same local bakery to order her a cake for our birthday celebration dinner that evening. Again, after I ordered the cake and was waiting for them to write ‘Happy Birthday’ on it, I saw a different man from my community and he said “oh, it’s a birthday cake. I didn’t think you were buying something for yourself in here”.

 

Really??

 

Well this time, I did not explain myself at all. I smiled and said, “nice to see you too”. I was so tempted to start explaining to him about intuitive eating, but I realized that it would fall on deaf ears. He wasn’t interested in understanding about intuitive eating, and that there are no good or bad foods. I know him for a while, and while he is a fit man, I know that his wife struggles with her weight and it just wasn’t the right time and place.

 

The beautiful thing about intuitive eating is there is no right way or wrong way to eat. Once you learn to listen to your body’s cues and trust that your body will guide you, you will find you will “crave” nutrient-rich foods most of the time, and play foods some of the time.

 

Contrary to what some people think about intuitive eating, intuitive eating is not eat what you want when you want without considering your hunger level or how that food feels in your body. It is not giving you permission to eat doughnuts all day long just because you can. If you want a doughnut, eat it and move on. If you don’t want a doughnut, don’t eat it. I know this is a hard concept for chronic dieters who label food good/bad, and who have guilt after eating certain foods.

 

I base my teachings around 3 essential ingredients. They are: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education. Think of it like 3 pieces to a puzzle. All 3 pieces need to be in place to have peace with food, your body and a freedom to eat without guilt. But the nutrition piece comes once the healthy mindset and support pieces are in place. Then we integrate nutrition and you will find that you will be choosing nutrient-rich foods most of the time not because you think you “should” but because you feel awesome eating them. And, you will incorporate play foods as you see fit. Have the doughnut, cupcake, ice cream or whatever your play food is, or don’t. You are in the driver’s seat. Releasing the fear around these foods is key to making peace with them.

 

I enjoyed a nice piece of birthday cake on Friday evening to celebrate my daughters 15th birthday (it had custard inside…yum!) No guilt, no regret, just pure pleasure.

 

 

 

I’m Eating Unconditionally but Going Overboard on Sweets. Help!

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from a woman in my Diet Free Radiant Me intuitive eating support community.

The question is:

Question:

“When I give myself unconditional permission to eat the foods I want, all I eat are carbs and sweets, and I eat too many of them!! I’m worried that if I eat intuitively, I will only eat carbs and I will gain weight.”

 

I understand this concern, because I hear it from many people, both clients who are just starting the intuitive eating journey and those in my private intuitive eating support group who are contemplating the journey (If you are not yet a part of our group, join HERE for free).

 

It makes sense. You’ve been restricting carbs and sweets for years, maybe even decades (except when you are bingeing). Your mind has been programmed to think that carbs and sweets are “bad” for you and that you are a “bad” person if you eat them. So, in an effort to be “good”, you restrict them to the best of your ability. Until you can’t resist any longer and you make a deal with yourself – “I’ll only have one”, which leads to many or the whole box. Then you promise to NEVER eat them again.

 

So when the idea of intuitive eating was presented to you with the concept of “give yourself unconditional permission to eat what you desire when you are hungry”, this sounded too good to be true. But who are you to argue. You jump right in. And now you find yourself all the way at the other extreme of ‘carb land’ eating and eating and eating with a fear that you will now gain weight.

 

There are 3 points I’d like to make here to help you be at peace with ‘unconditional permission to eat”.

1. Whenever you restrict something all the way in one direction (i.e. chocolate) and then you release that restriction, it is going to boomerang all the way to the other direction. This means if you’ve restricted chocolate or pizza and haven’t had it in years, and now you release that restriction and allow yourself to eat it, you are likely going to eat a lot of it because you haven’t had it in so long. It’s like a pendulum, when pulled in one direction and then you let it go, it swings all the way to the opposite end.

 

Or, like a seesaw (did you play on a seesaw when you were a kid? I did!). Visualize restriction and deprivation at the highest point (that’s you sitting on the seesaw up in the air!). Then you let the restriction go all at once, bam, the seesaw hits the ground (and your bottom took a big hit!)

 

This is absolutely ‘normal’. This won’t last forever. You will return to a middle ground after a while. At some point you will say to yourself “okay, tastes nice but I don’t feel the need to have it every day anymore. I can have it any time I desire.”

 

2. Part of becoming attuned to your inner body wisdom means being mindful of how you feel while eating and after eating certain foods. So pay attention to how you feel when you are eating an overabundance of sweets. Do you feel energized, sluggish, low energy, tired? Do you have indigestion, bloat etc. You will find that after a while your body will tell you what it wants, and often that is lighter foods because it makes you feel so much better.

 

3. When you allow all foods into your world again, you will begin to identify your true food preferences. You may think you cannot live without those chocolate kisses, but now that you aren’t restricting them, you find that they taste like cheap chocolate. If you are going to eat chocolate, you want the expensive Godiva chocolate (I have a story about this which I’ll save for another time!)

 

This all might sound logical to you, right? So, why are you still scared?

 

Here are several reasons, along with solutions.

 

The solutions include the freebie gift downloads I’ve created for you over the last 3 weeks of Intuitive Eating Wednesdays.

 

1. Intellectually you understand all this. But your inner voices are still shouting diet food rules at you. This is because you still possess a diet mentality and wonder if willpower will help you eat the sweets ‘in moderation’.

 

Solution: There is no willpower required in intuitive eating. Download Your 3 Step Plan to Shift Out of Diet Mentality and the Willpower Trap here.

 

2. It’s not about the food at all. It’s about the WHY you are eating.

 

Solution: Learn what emotions are driving your eating and download the Emotional Eating Inventory Worksheet here.

 

3. You are still labeling food as “good” and “bad”, “healthy” and “unhealthy”.

 

Solution: Reprogram your ‘good food/bad food’ mindset and download the Fleshing Out Your ‘Good Foods/Bad Foods’ Worksheet here.

 

Let’s discuss this further on today’s Facebook LIVE at 5:30 pm EST on my Facebook business page HERE. Go ahead and LIKE the page now so you get notification when I go live.

 

Want to talk? Just go to http://TalkWithBonnie.com, answer a few short questions and we will set up a time to chat.