As I move through the process of learning how to eat intuitively, I am struggling to deal with its most fundamental concept – making peace with food. That is the underlying premise of this whole thing! On the one hand, it is really exciting to eat things that I’ve previously restricted. I always thought that I wasn’t “too bad” about all that – I let myself have treats, but tried to limit/control them. But throughout the last week, I’ve found myself bumping up against beliefs I didn’t even really consciously acknowledge. I find myself thinking of buying/eating a food and initially dismissing it as out of hand (a box of Mint Milanos or Oreos, white pasta with Alfredo sauce. These things are just too bad (at least in my head). I am working to let these beliefs go – I know they are only hurting me. The Alfredo sauce only has power and is so tantalizing because I don’t allow myself to eat it. So, I guess I know what I’ll be buying at the store later…
I keep reading that this diet-backlash phase is normal and that I have to allow myself to move through it naturally. It’s OK that the majority of what I’m eating is “play food”. It won’t last forever. Eventually, if I really listen to my body, I’ll start to crave/want good for me stuff, too. But I’m not there yet and rushing it doesn’t work. I’m starting to get an inkling of this, though. I don’t like how I felt last night after eating too much ice cream after a larger dinner. Thinking about not wanting to repeat that feeling (bloated, uncomfortable) is a learning experience. I am retraining myself to not think of it as a “bad night” or that I messed up, somehow. I know it’s just one of the learning experiences that will help me retune my relationship with food. That shift in thinking is a big milestone for me.
At some point, my body will get the message that I will never restrict its food again. It needs to feel secure in the fact that another diet isn’t right around the corner as was the case previously. When I finally accept that food will always be readily available, I’ll be able to chill out in trying to get it all in. Knowing from others’ experience that it will happen doesn’t make it any less scary to be on the other side of it, waiting for it to kick in. There’s still a part of me that wonders if I’ll just keep eating and eating indefinitely and just get bigger and bigger. Intellectually, I understand that’s not what will happen, but emotionally, it’s the fear I’ve clung to for so long, that it’s hard to recalibrate my brain.
So for today, I’ll try not to think too much about it and just enjoy my food. Fried chicken and spaghetti with regular pesto sauce! It’s funny how I always said I didn’t know how to make fried chicken – I just didn’t allow myself to do it right. It is so good!