Do you ever feel like you can’t control your cravings? We’ve all seen the clickbait readings on social media, “The Food That is Secretly Killing You” or “10 Foods That Should be Banned.” Many of us see this and try not to believe everything we hear, but if we’re honest, it makes us wonder and sometimes feel guilty for choosing the product.
Time and time again, I see patients who feel they are out of control and cannot be trusted around certain foods. They avoid it at all costs, but if they end up eating it, there is guilt. As a society, we tend to be disconnected from why we eat the foods we eat. Guilt often has more dangerous consequences to our health than any food you may consume.
Feeling guilt for eating something "bad" many times leads us to an all or nothing mentality. If I’ve already screwed up, what will it hurt if I continue eating off limits foods, whether I truly want them or not, whether I’m hungry or not. While the initial "bad" food you ate is highly unlikely to have any significant effect on your health (or weight), the cascade of the “whatever, I messed up” eating mentality certainly will.
Let me paint you a picture. Thomas was hungry and wanted a chocolate bar, but kept telling himself no because he didn’t do x, y, and z today. On his way home from work he stopped for gas and went into the convenience shop. Thomas glanced at the chocolate, quickly averted his eyes, grabbed a pack of gum instead, paced by the chocolate, and grabbed some fruit. In the checkout line he snagged a King Size chocolate bar at the last second. The guilt was beginning to form. He starts eating it as soon as he checks out. Half the bar is finished by the time he gets to his car and the guilt has turned into shame. Now he’s berating himself for having such a strong sweet tooth as he still has that craving for chocolate. He finishes the other half of the bar before he pulls out of the gas station. Now the negative thoughts are strong. What just happened?
Our brains are wired to want what we can’t have. If chocolate or some other dessert is off limits we’re more likely to want it. Then, when we do consume it, we taste guilt not the nougaty goodness, the smooth chocolate, or the sweet taste of the caramel. The craving was never satisfied.
Today, I want you to do three things.
Buy a food you have not allowed yourself to eat when you have little to slight hunger.
Before you open it, spend 5 minutes outside. Allow yourself to rest in nature. Be thankful for the creation around you. Relax. Slow down.
Now, eat the food mindfully. What does it look like? What does it taste like? What do you smell? How is the texture?
If you do this small task, I commend you. You are on the road to becoming an intuitive eater. It won’t happen overnight, but as you let go of the food rules you have set for yourself, you will find the freedom to eat what food you want, to the level of comfort you want, without any guilt!
At Lemond Nutrition, we strive to help our patients change the way they think about food. We carefully created a Wellness Program called LEAN Freedom designed for all body types. We work with our patients to make small, conscious decisions to improve lifestyle, health awareness, exercise, and nutrition that will enhance our lives. With our program you can truly be free to eat what you want without tasting any guilt or shame.
All the love,
Liz Marshall, RDN, LD