Many of us have chosen to override our instinctual connection with food by intellectually controlling what we are eating. Meaning that we've listened to outside sources in order to determine what to eat instead of trusting our own intuition. We're animals, we're designed to instinctually know how to survive. So, how do we get back there? This part is simple, but not easy. Whether you're a yo-yo dieter, an athlete, a standard American, a person recovering from an eating disorder, or plain ol' Joe Schmo, we've all learned to deem food as bad or good, right or wrong. We've been at war with foods that are an essential part of our structure and function: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. I'm asking you to stop fighting with food. Stop restricting, rewarding, punishing, and controlling. Simply put, I'm asking you to eat.
I was big on fad diets, which turned into an obsession, which turned into an eating disorder. When I started my healthy lifestyle I had "recovered" from my struggles with eating disorders, but the obsession with food and my body still haunted me. I knew that if I was going to pursue a healthy lifestyle I was going to have to do it a different way. No more restricting and no more right and wrong.
That's how I began, eating whatever the hell I wanted to, whenever the hell I wanted to, with the addition of healthy food. I focused on drinking enough water, juicing three times a day, and finishing both my lunch and dinner meals with raw salads. What I ate beyond that was of no concern to me.
I had an excellent Professor in college, who specialized in eating disorders, tell me that if someone had a restriction / binge relationship with Oreo's then they should be sure to carry around a bag of them wherever they went. The more we resist something the stronger our urge is for that thing. I have plenty of experience to back that statement up. We should allow ourselves to indulge in cravings as long as we do our best to create a healthy standard. Let the unhealthy cravings become the exceptions and the healthy, nourishing foods become our norm.
Pumping my body with nutrients soon lessened my appetite and unhealthy cravings. Pretty soon I was daydreaming of kale and brown rice instead of Taco Bell and onion rings. Our bodies want to be healthy, it's our minds that screw it up. So, do your body a favor and surrender control. Let it decide what to eat, but support it with proper nourishment.
I have to add that exploring your patterns of eating, emotional connections to food, and feelings towards your body will help you break free of unhealthy eating patterns. Journalling, refocusing on positive thoughts, and letting go of judgements were integral in my healing.
Nowadays, I'm not perfect, nor do I want to be, but I've allowed my body to resume control. I still allow myself to emotionally eat and indulge in cravings, but my healthy lifestyle dramatically outweighs these times and my body can handle it. I deem these as "soul" food days and enjoy them, but am excited to get back to my green juice and quinoa. It's my philosophy that health and happiness comes from enjoying your food, supporting your body when you can, and eliminating judgement. So, go on now and start loving yourselves and loving your food!