This tenant of Intuitive Eating is all about rejecting the rules that have been created and are policed by diet culture. When we do this, we take another step towards a food freedom that is not riddled with guilt or shame surrounding food.
How can we get there❓
Start catching your thoughts as they happen, and begin challenging them!
Food police statements might sound like:
🚨“I have been so good this week, I have not had any sweets!”
🚨“I have been bad all week, I really fell off the wagon”
🚨“I feel so guilty for eating that second piece of pie”
🚨“I am going to get a burger tonight, I’ve earned it!”
🚨“Ugh I want chocolate so bad, I cannot wait for my next cheat day!”
Food freedom statements that could replace these might be:
💚“I have not had any cravings for sweet items this week, interesting!”
💚“I had a really emotional week, it makes sense I used food for comfort. I wonder what other coping strategies I could try out?”
💚“I really enjoyed that pie tonight, it was delicious!”
💚“I am craving a burger tonight, I am excited for dinner!”
💚“I am craving some chocolate, I am going to listen to that intuitive cue instead of saving up all my cravings. I know that could result in a binge”
Negative self-talk, no matter in what context, can be detrimental to our mental and emotional well-being. You may know from experience how belittling it can feel to label yourself as “bad” or a “failure” for listening to your cravings. So my challenge for you today is to start paying closer attention to your thoughts and label the ones that align with diet culture. Once we can start recognizing these thoughts, we can start challenging them!
Common diet mentality statements might take after these familiar molds:
❌Can I have this?
❌How do I look?
❌How much food do I get today?
❌Will this make me gain weight?
❌I exercise so I can eat
❌I can eat whatever I want, on my cheat day
❌Food is my enemy, my "guilty pleasure”, or a reward
Intuitive eating statements that you can try replacing the above with look more like this:
✅Do I want this?
✅How do I feel?
✅How much food do I need today?
✅Will this nourish me?
✅I eat so I can exercise
✅I can eat whatever I want, every day
✅Food is just food, it is a source of nourishment and pleasure
Diet culture typically forces us to think dichotomously, or in “black and white” terms. But life is so much more complex than the outcomes of this all-or-nothing thinking. You do not have to eat ALL “good” foods or ALL “bad” foods, or be either ON or OFF “the wagon” at all times.
If we relinquish a bit of control around food, more often than not we crave an abundance of nutrient-dense items (i.e., fruit, veggies, whole grains) as well as a variety of more energy-dense foods (i.e., pizza, chips, chocolate) that make up a balanced and sustainable diet. YES - you can have a moderate amount of any of the foods you crave in the same day you eat salad and veggies - they do not need to be mutually exclusive! You do NOT have to only exist in the black or white - go for the grey!
If you have any questions about this tenant, or would like to chat about your journey to intuitive eating, please reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resource: Tribole, E. & Resch, E. (2020). Intuitive Eating, 4th edition. St. Martins Publishing Group.
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