When I was setting my goals for this year, my main theme was around having fun. This is because I realised that even though I love my work, I wasn’t having enough down time, relaxation and fun. This is so important because if we’re not having fun then what is the point.
This definitely transfers over to eating. Being on a diet is not fun. Depriving and restricting yourself is not fun. Feeling guilty around food is not fun. However it is fun to be in control of how you are eating in a positive way. What I mean by that is that when you eat naturally or mindfully you are listening to your body’s natural instincts. Therefore when your body tells you its hungry you eat. You eat exactly what you feel like, you stop when you’ve had enough and then you move onto something else, preferably something that is FUN! You are totally in control, but you are not depriving or restricting yourself.
What you are doing is empowering yourself to choose exactly what is right for you at that time. In some instances it will be something healthy, in others it won’t. I get just as much pleasure out of a beautiful piece of pineapple as I do a piece of chocolate, but only if I decide I want the pineapple at that time. If someone told me I had to eat the pineapple instead of the chocolate then I would not enjoy it. But if I’m allowed to make that choice for myself more often than not I’d probably choose the pineapple.
I eat approximately 80% healthy food and 20% not and to me that is a perfect balance. Physically, I feel great because I eat predominantly healthy food. But emotionally I feel great too, because I am not depriving myself of my favourite foods. This means I do not crave them and therefore never binge on them.
A number of my clients haven’t enjoyed their food for several years. This is often because they were always on some sort of diet or constantly worried about their weight or body image. Once they know that they can eat whatever they want whenever they are hungry, the enjoyment starts to come back, because they can now choose what they want. They start to eat food they haven’t allowed themselves to have, often for years and eating becomes a joy again instead of a worry. Also, because they are mindful as they eat, they don’t overindulge or constantly crave the unhealthy options.
Therefore I encourage you to start to having fun with your food. I remember as a child with a mallow puff, I would break it over my head, pick the chocolate off, nibble the biscuit and suck the marshmallow. I loved it and I never had more than one because I got so much enjoyment out of it I was easily satisfied. If you inhale your food you won’t enjoy it and you won’t get satisfaction because you are not mindful or focused while you are eating it.
Bring the fun back by listening to and trusting your body. Eat for nourishment and not for comfort. Allow yourself to enjoy your favourite food without guilt and overindulging. Then you will find that eating will be a joy and not a burden.