Updated: Apr 2
If the thought of "over-indulging" at Easter leaves you feeling anxious, read on...
So, Spring has sprung and Easter is just a few days away and I know that for many of you reading this, some anxiety might already be creeping in about food; chocolate in particular. This is normal because we're told such conflicting messages – one minute we are being told to “treat ourselves”, then the next, not to “over-indulge”. This kind of message has us feeling anxious about food, even before the food has touched our lips and that isn’t healthy!
When I first learned about Unconditional Permission to Eat I had a really hard time embracing it... I thought it would mean that I would only eat chocolate, chips and all the other foods I had banned from my life, all day, every day.
So I what I want to invite you to do this week as Easter approaches is explore how food, like chocolate can feel like it has such a strong hold over us and I’m going to share three tips to help you start to reframe it:
These are mindset shifts that when applied, will quite honestly transform your relationship with food.
First let me start by telling you about how my relationship with chocolate has changed since I have applied these mindset shifts in my own life…
Like you, when occasions that are centred on food came up, I experienced a lot of anxiety. I had lots of rules around food and because I wanted to eat chocolate (or whatever the forbidden food was), I developed what has been coined the "f*ck it" effect.
This means that I would throw all ideas of eating well and taking care of myself out of the window and I'd let myself eat like crap for the next few days, always promising myself that I would NEVER eat that food again and I would make up for it somehow; either by restricting my food or exercising like crazy.
Nowadays, instead of telling myself, "I've got to eat all these Easter eggs now" and scoffing down 10 eggs in a weekend, I tell myself "I can have chocolate whenever I want" and what happens as a result is pretty spectacular… the dramatic pull towards chocolate disappears.
I can hear you asking WHY? and HOW? and I’ll tell you…
When we have very strict food rules and fear around food, we create this push and pull effect. The more we try to resist it, the greater the pull towards it becomes and the more TIME we actually spend thinking about it instead of getting on with our lives.
If you have heard the phrase “What we resist, persists” then you’ll have heard about this concept before and it sums this up perfectly.
When it comes to our food, this is called giving yourself Unconditional Permission to Eat and is one of the principles of Intuitive Eating. Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat means that we no longer have that “F*ck it” effect or all or nothing way of thinking and it means that ALL foods have a place in our life… even Easter Eggs! When I first learned about Unconditional Permission to Eat I had a really hard time embracing it at first. I thought it would mean that I would only eat chocolate, chips and all the other foods I had banned from my life, all day, every day. But what is so fascinating is that I'm not that bothered about chocolate (or any food for that matter) at all anymore. Every now and then, I fancy it and I will let myself have it and enjoy it but the strong pull it had over me has totally disappeared. Fascinating huh? Now I wans to share with you my three tips for you to try this week:
1. Get Curious Adopt an attitude of curiosity about YOUR food rules and get honest about how well these are actually serving you. If you find that a certain food has a strong pull for you, you have strong cravings, you binge eat or feel out of control with food a lot of the time, notice if this is with the foods that you have been denying yourself. If this is the case, what could that mean? 2. Unconditional Permission Try giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and notice how this changes your desire. When you give yourself permission, you decrease feelings of restriction, and it is restriction that triggers food binges!
Notice what your inner voice is saying as you go to eat said food. Is it saying “I shouldn't eat this” or “this is bad for me”? If so, this is restrictive thinking in action and it's this thinking that creates the f*ck it effect I referred to earlier, so just get curious and notice and perhaps journal down what comes up.
My clients find that one of the hardest part of becoming an intuitive eater is allowing themselves to eat the foods they have previously banned from their lives. It takes practice so be kind to yourself as you navigate this.
3. Tune into your Body The body never lies so why do so few of us actually listen to her? When we get into the habit of listening to and trusting our bodies, we discover that it is constantly communicating with us and our relationship with food is transformed. Instead of following a set of rules from your app (or whatever external reference you're using) has provided, you'll tap into the wisdom of your body, increasing your awareness for hunger cues, satisfaction and feelings of Fullness.
This is how you transform your relationship with food because no matter what plan you’re following, YOU are the only expert of your body. Fact!
How are you feeling about Easter?
Are you feeling excited or is there is feeling of dread at the thought of "over indulging"?