Reject the Diet Mentality

The counselors’ convention was held in a 600,000 square-foot hotel with huge lush gardens and cascading waterfalls—so beautiful that one might forget she was inside. That is, until four days had passed with no fresh air. Sometime during that fourth afternoon it occurred to me that while it looked like I was spending time outside, the truth of the matter was I needed fresh air. I needed it immediately…and I needed lots of it!

This simple experience of mine illustrates a very important concept. Deprivation of any kind—whether of fresh air, sleep, touch, or other things—can cause ever-growing cravings to spin out of control. And this is especially true of food, where “shouldn’t” and “can’t” cause an avalanche of cravings that quite often lead to binging. The next key to freedom in Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s intuitive eating program is principle three: making peace with food.

Principle Three: Make Peace with Food.

Making peace with food means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. When you rigidly restrict the amount or type of food that you eat, you will inevitably begin to hunger after even larger quantities of that very food. However, there is way to stop this vicious cycle: give yourself unconditional permission to eat. In essence, stop grading food as “good” or “bad.” Eat what you want without “obligatory penance” (for example, “I will eat ice cream tonight but run two extra miles tomorrow.”) While this idea is unsettling to most women who have been ensnared by the shackles of dieting, your need and propensity to overeat will be eliminated when you truly make peace with food.

Authors Tribole and Resch state, “Many of our clients discover that the very foods they prohibited and craved are no longer desirable once they can be eaten freely.” This has been proven true for my clients as well. For example, when “Sue” began to give herself unconditional permission to experience “forbidden” foods, she tried a scone from a local bakery—something her diets would never have allowed. However, upon eating it, she found it to be very dry and tasteless and ended up throwing most of it away!

So make a decision to make peace with food, and like Sue, say goodbye to your forbidden food fight! Above all, remember that this process is just that… a process. The pace at which you proceed needs to be one in which you are comfortable. The main requirement before moving forward is that you are consistently honoring your hunger. Then follow the authors’ suggestions and find success with this third intuitive eating principle.

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