The Mindset That Conquers Trigger Foods

Holidays can be intense! Especially in the food category. Even seasoned intuitive eaters can be surprised by some almost-forgotten compulsive food-feelings this time of year. Certain goodies, situations, people and places trigger old patterns of overeating.

One way to strengthen ourselves as liberated eaters this time of year is to    intentionally revisit how we think now, compared to how we used to think.

Let’s compare these two very different mindsets: the old restrictive diet-mentality that trapped us on the diet/binge roller coaster – and – the liberating mindful mindset that connects us to our bodies and ourselves again…

Old mindset: {anxious and intense}

“This is special food!!! It looks sooo good – and it’s sooo bad!!! But… I don’t get this very often so I better eat a LOT of it now!!!”

New mindset: {peaceful and grateful}

“Holiday fare is a gift. I’m going to enjoy it and honor this time of year (and my health) by savoring it…

There’s nothing I have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.”

Old mindset: {false hope of a future quick fix}

“In January I’m gonna go on the best diet ever and this time I’m gonna lose all this weight once and for all. I’m gonna detox and exercise and eat clean for the rest of my life!  So… I better eat all the bad stuff I can now.”

New mindset: {permanent livable solution}

“Every day I can have a delicious, calm, balanced relationship with food and my body. I don’t have to live with the extremes of too-much or too-little anymore. I can enjoy satisfying portions of the food I love every day.”

Old mindset: {shame and harsh judgement lead to repeated behaviors}

“OH NOOOO!!! I blew it AGAIN…how can I be so weak and incapable? …I’m hopeless … I might as well stuff myself.”

New mindset: {mercy leads to kindness and change}

“Hmmm, I just ate past satisfied. Whew, I don’t like that old stuffed feeling. That’s ok! I don’t have to do this perfectly. I’ll take great care of myself by listening closely to my body. I’ll check in and wait for physical hunger before I eat again.”

As we step away from emotional knee-jerk reactions and into a real relationship with food, the old triggers and patterns begin to fade. A flexible, enjoyable food-life begins to grow – not just on normal days but during the messy, fun, hustle-bustle of the holidays too.

 

Yummy thanks for the Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

3 Surprising Reasons You Need More Eating Pleasure

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Here’s a profound truth about eating that’s so simple we miss it all the time.

This truth will enhance your up-coming Thanksgiving feast and revolutionize your food-life in the new year ahead.

Are you ready for it?      …drum roll…

If you’re gonna eat it anyway, ENJOY IT!

If you choose it, own it.

3 reasons this practice is so important:

1. Pleasure is a critical part of healthy metabolism. If you don’t relax enough to experience pleasure when you eat, it adversely affects your metabolic health, and cuts digestion effectiveness by 40 to 60%. Stress elevates cortisol and insulin, which causes your body to hang onto extra weight.

2. Satisfaction is not a luxury, it’s an innate need. When your eating experience isn’t satisfying, your mind and body will keep looking for the pleasure they need by causing you to crave more food, even after your fuel needs are met. Food guilt, mindless eating, eating-on-the-run – all these common eating scenarios – leave us unsatisfied and set us up for unrelenting cravings.

3. Owning your own choices empowers you. Dieting has damaged our self-confidence and caused us to deeply question ourselves. Taking full responsibility for yourself again is healing. As you practice making thoughtful choices and stand by them, you resurrect your personal power and dignity.

So, if you decide to have a slice of Aunt Peggy’s Christmas pie this year – be all in! Sit down in your right mind, relax, thank God for it, and experience it fully for the holy day gift it is. Without judgment. Without guilt. Without reserve.

As you adopt this life-giving practice of pleasure you’ll find that you begin to choose more wisely, feel more peaceful and – your pants will begin to fit more loosely too.

This One Thing Can Change Your Holiday Eating

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Turn off the All-or-Nothing thinking.

I know this may sound too simple but really, y’all, this is HUGE…

This old insidious leftover symptom of dieting causes us to eat more than we normally would, and then feel weird about how we ate it. It’s a soul crushing joy-sucker.

This one mind-shift changes things drastically.

We’re all familiar with how we inherited our All-or-Nothing compulsion. We started dieting to lose some weight and the next thing we know:

  • We’re eating everything we can before each diet – saying goodbye to all the things we love which we shall never eat again!
  • We’re avoiding each “fattening” food like it’s the plague – all the while longing for exactly what we cannot have. Making certain food illegal gives it far more power over us than it deserves.
  • We’re bingeing on “bad” food after each diet and feeling weak and guilty about it – but at least we’re enjoying the old favorites we’d missed (making them even more special).
  • And then of course there’s a nice big helping of shame. Shame over not being able to stick to the diet perfectly, even though it’s not humanly possible. Shame over feeling out of control with food once we think we’ve “blown it”.

Then add some excessive food anticipation to the desperation about the deprivation – and WHEW!

All. Or. Nothing.

NO “non-diet” food, or TONS of “non-diet” food.

Enter Holiday Season 2016. All-or-nothing thinking can really kick up during the holidays. It yells at us to just go ahead and give upuntil after the new year. Go ahead and eat it ALL until January 2017 and then start that New Year’s Diet.  Again.  Just like last year.  And the year before that.

But.

What if?

What if this year is different?

What if we changed the channel in our brain from All-or-Nothing to Savor-Some-Things? A liberating idea…

Now, imagine it’s January 2017. 

The holidays are over.

What if you look back and see that you’d thoroughly enjoyed a few thoughtfully chosen pieces of your favorite Halloween candy? Or what if you’d savored one fun-size treat* every day for the entire last week of October? And what if enjoying those treats hadn’t led to eating ALL the candy because you remembered that forced deprivation was over. Forever.

What if you looked back and remembered a lovely Thanksgiving Day? You had one perfect piece of Aunt Deloris’s chess pie (my favorite since I was 8). You’d thoughtfully fixed a plate of what you wanted at Thanksgiving dinner. Not everything – but all your favorites. And you savored the meal and the day and the people. You felt a bit fuller than you normally do after The Feast of Thanksgiving, but there was no guilt. No harsh judgement. Just an observation.

What if, over the course of the Christmas season, you remember feeling relaxed and reasonable most of the time? You deeply enjoyed your favorite Christmas goodies now and then. And you’d really enjoyed Christmas dinner too.

And what if you had felt no guilt about eating these rich foods? In fact, you felt grateful. And blessed. You experienced the beauty of savoring – which is also honoring. It enriched you and your holy days.

What if you looked back and saw more peace around food this year?

And what if, when you did eat more than you wished, you said to yourself “Hmmm. That didn’t feel good. I would of felt better if I’d eaten less. I’ll remember that next time.” And what if you didn’t beat yourself up?

What if this year you focus on eating more slowly and mindfully than last? And then next year it gets even easier – more and more relaxed and mindful with each passing year…

What if this is a beautiful journey after all?

Not a battle.

A journey of discovery – not just about food, but about ourselves?

And what if you decide to love yourself through it? To take a deep breath and trust that all will be well, even when it’s messy.

 

 

*Side note concerning sugar: I work with some liberated eaters who have decided not to eat sugar. This is not about dieting or deprivation for them – but a personal choice after exploring and finding what works best for them, right now.

Don’t Let Halloween Candy Scare You!

halloween-candy-1014629_960_720October 31st kicks off the 2016 holiday season. From now till New Year’s 2017 it’ll be non-stop fun … and food.
For those of us who’ve struggled with food and body, there can be a sense of mounting anxiety this time of year. We’re barraged by special goodies: Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving desserts, traditional family favorites, etc. There’ll be round-the-clock commercials reminding us of all the things we just can’t miss. And then, of course, there are the after-holiday-sales where the “old” candy is half price.

So how can we meet this dilemma with poise and confidence? How can we enjoy the traditions and people we love best and not be hijacked by food anxiety? How can we set ourselves up for success?

Here are a few empowering thoughts for us liberated eaters:

Don’t let your anxiety scare you. It’s a holdover from our old dieting days – and it will dim in time as we continue to practice the core beliefs and behaviors of liberated eating.

Remember why you feel anxious; it’s a normal response for people who have experienced starvation. Dieting leads to excess and obsession. Food deprivation is deep and powerful and it influences us on a primal level. This is not about willpower, so give yourself a break. It’s about physiology and psychology. Our binges have not been about us being weak. They’ve been about us being human.

 Too little always leads to too much eventually, and makes us feel kinda crazy in the process.

Let’s put some strategies in place that’ll help set us up for reasonable eating over the holidays:

1. Pre-decide how you want things to go. Think ahead, before the food is in front of you. You can trust yourself with this. You are strong and capable. Think it through…

For example, when it comes to Halloween candy, here are a couple of options:

  • HAVE SOME: You might decide you want to enjoy your favorite candy in a controlled and safe way. Make a savoring date with one or two perfect pieces and enjoy them thoroughly.
  • HAVE NONE: You might not want to eat any at all this year. Perhaps you feel that one piece will lead to the whole bowl. Trust yourself to know what’s best for you right now. Take good care of yourself by eating other foods you enjoy, and let someone else handle the candy bowl for the Trick or Treaters this year.

2. Determine not to eat in secret. You don’t have to.

Eat what you’ve thoughtfully chosen, in full view of good company. Enjoy it with gratitude and grace because you are free.

3. Refuse to eat on auto-pilot. 
When you feel compulsive or hurried, just stop a minute. Take a breath. Give yourself the gift of being present for the bites you take. Mindfulness brings great satisfaction.

4. Choose a motto for your holiday season.
Mine is “There’s no food I have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.”

5. Guard against all-or-nothing thinking – It’s a holdover from dieting back when we thought of ourselves and our food as “good” or “bad”. This led to the exhausting diet/binge roller coaster we hated so badly.

All-or-nothing thinking didn’t work then and it won’t work now. If you happen to eat more than you wish you had, just remind yourself that you wouldn’t go wreck your car just because you got a scratch on it.

You are free. You never have to eat all of anything ever again.

6. Give yourself Grace. Falling back into an old overeating pattern is a normal part of any authentic change process. Acknowledge it, treat yourself kindly and see what you can learn from the experience. What tool or thought would have given you a different outcome? Our relapses can be our very best school!

As we move toward this special time of year, decide to have a journey mindset: Be curious. Anticipate good things. Be open to discovery. Picture yourself getting stronger, wiser, more free, and more peaceful with food with each passing holiday.

Each one is a part of your story.

Each one is an opportunity to know yourself better than you ever have before.

 

 

Have Yourself A Liberated Little Christmas!

Have Yourself A Liberated Little ChristmasWhat a wonderful Christmas gift – to find in my inbox:

I am reminded this morning that this is my second liberated Christmas! What a blessing this way of life has been and continues to be. I’m so thankful for the principles you live and teach. May God bless you with His deep gladness during this Christmas season.    

Love you, Lori                          

This message reminds us of the JOY of our FREEDOM!  As mindful, intuitive eaters, we get to enjoy the holidays and holiday goodies…in our right mind. Unlike our dieting days, we are now free to enjoy holiday foods without guilt. We are free to eat peacefully – with all the benefits this brings to body and mind.

Let’s remember how we can live this Christmas:

  • I am free to choose what I really want to eat. There are no illegal foods.
  • Since I want to feel great all day, I’m going to choose foods and amounts that will satisfy my taste buds, my mind, and my energy.
  • I can trust myself to stop eating when my body says I’m full.
  • I can afford to stop when I am satisfied, no matter how much food is left, because I can always eat again when I’m hungry.
  • I am not starting a crazy diet in January so I do not have to eat everything now!
  • I can enjoy the foods that mean the most to me and feel nothing but gratitude.

May you, your mind, your body and your spirit have yourselves a Merry little Liberated Christmas. I am so grateful to know you!