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Digging Into Desserts as an Intuitive Eater

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I am often asked about the role that dessert plays in our eating plan. Many people who are stuck in the diet mentality see certain foods as off-limits. This is largely due to the many diets they’ve been on that place foods into two categories, healthy foods and “junk foods” (or “good” and “bad”, “legal” and “illegal” etc…you get the idea).

 

When food is labeled as forbidden, it just becomes that much more appealing. When you place limits on how many sweets you can have or when you can have them, you are giving that food power over you. You are treating certain foods like a vice instead of a delightful treat to be savored.

 

Food is not meant to be categorized in such a way. As a matter of fact, I have a pet peeve when people call food “junk food”. Food is not junk and food is not garbage. Food nourishing to our body and soul. Food is neutral and there are ways you can incorporate what you would call “junk foods” into your eating style without demonizing it.

 

In order to build a healthy relationship with food, it is imperative to stop demonizing it, and look at it as a source of nourishment.

 

When working with my intuitive eating clients, I take them on a journey in which, together, we work to rebuild a happy and healthier relationship with food. During this journey, we reframe the way they way they look at desserts and sweets, and refer to these foods as either “fun foods” or “play foods.” They find it enjoyable to incorporate play foods into their eating style once they rebuild that trust within their body. They no longer fear these foods.

 

Chocolate chip cookies, lemon meringue pie, and salty caramel ice cream are not “off limits”. As you learn to enjoy all foods on your intuitive eating journey, you will find that every food has a place in your life, if you so choose.

 

Some sweet treats that can’t be beat:

  • Anything with berries in it. Berries are a great way to sweeten up any meal or snack. They have antioxidants, they protect your cells from free radicals and they are delicious. Check out my favorite ways to add berries into my meals.

 

  • Cookies, in any shape and size. Cookies are great because you can have one or two or five! You decide based on your level of hunger, not based on a pre-determined portion. To learn more about these delicious treats, check out my blog post.

 

  • Nuts – I’m just nuts about nuts. Nuts are packed with nutrients, fiber and healthy fat making them the perfect snack or after dinner dessert. While nuts might have once been an “off limit” food for you, as an intuitive eater you are now embracing them for their healthy fat content. Learn more about the various nuts and how to incorporate them into your menus.

 

  • The perfect parfait. Parfaits are a great after dinner treat, especially when they are homemade and you get to decide what to put in them. For simple instructions on how to make your own click here.

 

In practicing an intuitive eating lifestyle, you will learn how to pay attention to your body’s internal hunger and fullness cues.

 

Quick Tip

When you are eating a food, try and remember how that food is affecting you both mentally and physically.

 

Remember how you felt after eating a quinoa salad and compare that to after you had a giant cheeseburger. When you pay attention to how foods affect you, you will feel more in charge of your eating. You may not crave that BLT as much when you realize how much better you feel when you eat a yogurt for breakfast instead. Don’t get me wrong, there are mornings when a giant stack of pancakes is in order, however as you become more intuitive and skilled at listening to your body, this may not be as common of an occurrence as before.

 

Interested in learning more about intuitive eating? Contact me to learn more about my various intuitive eating programs.

 

Your Turn to Take Action: What is your favorite sweet treat? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

I’m Eating Sensibly and Not Losing Weight, Now What?

Every Wednesday is Intuitive Eating Wednesday! This is when I answer your questions and around intuitive eating and emotional eating.

 

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from Claudia, and it is:

“What is the best approach to eating sensibly and lose weight when you are menopausal and on anti-depressant medication?”

 

Claudia goes on to say that she exercises regularly, eats sensibly and has “moments of weakness with sweets, but nothing alarming”. She states she wants to be healthier and is xxx pounds above her “desired” weight.

 

So, at quick glance, if you are a woman in menopause, you might be asking the same question. Or, if you are approaching menopause in a few years, you might be thinking “I want to know this information!”.

 

I’m going to break down Claudia’s question for you.

 

Best Approach to Eating Sensibly and Lose Weight

Claudia already says she eats sensibly. True, everybody has a different definition of “sensibly” but since this question came in via email, let’s assume it means she is eating a well-balanced meal plan.

 

But Claudia seems to be tying eating sensibly to losing weight. Herein is where the problem lies.

 

A well-balanced meal plan means eating from all the food groups throughout the day, balancing each meal and snack with a several food groups versus just eating a salad and chicken, not skipping meals, choosing wholesome foods most of the time, incorporating fun foods for pleasure, and enjoying your meals without guilt.

 

The problem arises If you are choosing to eat sensibly as in the above description, but it is tied to a desired outcome of weight loss. You have decided to make changes in your eating pattern to lose weight. But when habits and behaviors are changed with weight loss in mind, what happens when you don’t lose weight, or when you don’t lose weight as quickly as you’d like? Oftentimes, you are off to find a new way of eating. Those new nutrition habits get thrown out as you are saying “this isn’t working”! When in fact, you are reaping other health benefits from making these nutrition changes and eating sensibly.

 

Exercising Regularly

Bravo to Claudia! You are exercising on a regular basis. But let me ask you. Are you exercising with the intended outcome of weight loss? There are many benefits to exercise but all too often, those who are focused on weight loss will think in terms of calories burned and pounds lost.

 

What if you separated exercise from calories burned? What benefits would you experience?

 

Regular exercise is important for everyone, men and women of all ages. As a woman in menopause, perhaps you want to consider the type of exercise you are doing. How does it feel in your body? If you are doing the same hard-core exercises that you were doing in your 30s and 40s, maybe you want to explore a more gentle type of exercise.

 

Moments of Weakness with Sweets

Some people are born with a natural desire for sweets. There is nothing wrong with that. However, diet culture has you believing that sweets are “bad” and you are “weak” if you eat sweets.

 

I have to say – this is just not true!

 

Whenever you will yourself to NOT eat something you truly like, how long can that last? A few days, a week, maybe a month? And then when you do “give in”, it feels like weakness.

 

Shifting the way you think about sweets and how they are present in your life will make a big difference for you.

 

Remember, restriction is the number one predictor of overeating and bingeing.

 

Desire to be Healthier = Lose xxx Pounds Above Desired Weight

Claudia is not alone in thinking that to be healthier, she needs to lose weight. Heck, even doctors prescribe weight loss to their patients, repeatedly.

 

Why do you think doctors continue to tell the same patients at each visit “diet and lose weight?”

 

Because clearly diets don’t work for long-term weight loss and their patients are still struggling. So you’d think that doctors would finally get it and stop pushing weight loss as the method to “get healthier”.

 

Research shows that the pursuit of weight loss is not effective in the long term to manage most diseases. Study after study shows that the vast majority of people who lose weight on a diet regain that weight plus more! This weight cycling is worse on your health, than stabilizing at a higher weight.

 

What if you stopped pursuing weight loss and focusing on a number to improve your health?

 

What if instead you focused on habits and behavior changes, such as improved nutrition and increased activity (without tying it to calories or a weight on a scale!)

 

What if instead you focused on self-care, such as stress management and sleep hygiene?

 

I’ll tell you what will happen…..

 

You will see improvement in your health via your labs, your energy level, your stamina, your mind and so much more, without worrying about your weight. And if through this process your body happens to release a few pounds, then so be it.

 

Your body knows what weight and size it’s genetically predetermined to be. That number might be different that the vision (your “desired weight”) you have in your mind. But that, my friends, is for another blog.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy Your Holiday Sweets without Guilt

Gingerbread cookiesHoliday sweets are all over, wherever you turn! At the office, at home, family gatherings, work parties, school etc.

 

Chocolates, holiday cookies, pies, candy, and other sweet treats seem to call your name.

 

How do you answer them?

 

Do you eat them, only to feel guilty afterwards?

 

Or, do you say…”it’s the holidays, I don’t want to deprive myself while everyone else is eating them.”

 

As you embark on, or continue, your intuitive eating journey, it is important to learn how to eat your favorite foods, sweets and desserts included, without feelings of guilt and harsh self-talk.

 

Year after year you promise yourself either one of two things:

 

  • I won’t touch anything I’m not “supposed” to eat during the holidays. I am not going to gain an ounce! (By the way, who is deciding what you are “supposed” to eat anyway…)

 

  • I can’t say no, I just don’t have the willpower. Let me just eat and I’ll tackle my weight in January.

 

How has this worked out for you year after year?

 

If you are like many people who contact me after January 1st, neither scenario works out well. In scenario #1, you are not being realistic. You are surrounded by holiday goodies, how can you expect yourself to not eat any of it? And, why shouldn’t you eat some of it?

 

In scenario #2, you overeat, feel miserable, bloated, heavy and fatigued. Then starts the negative self-talk and body bashing. This is a lose-lose situation.

 

I am going to show you how to enjoy your holiday sweets without guilt!

 

How?

Challenge - Holiday Sweets

 

 

Join me in the Enjoy Your Holiday Sweets Without Guilt 3 Day Free Challenge.

 

This 3 Day Free Challenge is happening over in the Diet Free Radiant Me™ private Facebook group.

 

Not a member yet? Just click here to gain access! The challenge starts on Monday, December 14TH.