Last week I worked on fine tuning what I wanted to share with you girls about Authentically You (see all of that great-ness here) and as I did that I revisited my story and began thinking more about what food freedom means to me. Today, I want to share those thoughts with you.
In a nutshell, having freedom with food means I don’t need a diet or rules to feel good in my body.
Today, I trust that my body will send me all of the signals I need to feel great, like:
- I want to go for a walk, I need a break & fresh air
- I’m hungry, I need lunch – let’s take a break
- Eh, this dessert isn’t as great as I was thinking it would be, I’ll stop here
- I need extra sleep, let’s go to bed early tonight
- I think I need a snack, my energy is low
In the past, I wouldn’t have heard any of these signals because I’d be so focused on meeting the needs/requirements of whatever diet plan I was on, like:
- Okay, so I have 1,200 calories to eat today, what can I have for breakfast that won’t use too many of my calories?
- Oh, it’s the end of the day and I still have 300 calories! I guess I’ll have that ice cream! (Even though I didn’t want it before realizing I had 300 calories left)
- It’s 6:00 PM, I should probably eat, even though I’m not hungry. Don’t want to eat too close to bed time!
In the past, I believed that if I wanted to feel good in my body (aka, like the way I looked) I needed to diet. I feared that if I didn’t diet, I would gain weight, be unhappy in my body, and not have anything to measure “how I was doing” – I feared that I would spiral out of control.
Same with the scale. It took me a while to let go of the scale because I was afraid of not being able to measure where my body was at.
It wasn’t until I ate intuitively for a couple years that I really began to realize how much energy I had wasted on dieting (intuitive eating is NOT a quick-fix like dieting, but who cares when the results of a diet don’t last longer than a few months/weeks/days?).
I finally realized:
I didn’t need to follow external rules (which are changing all the time, by the way) to be healthy. I have everything I need right here inside of me.
I didn’t need to weigh myself everyday to keep in check with my body. I know how I feel. I don’t need a scale to justify that.
Rather, I could just listen for the signals I knew my body must be sending me, and put my energy toward learning how to respond to those signals regularly (which is usually where people struggle, and where I come in with coaching).
I could also pay attention to how my body was feeling:
- Do I feel sluggish? I can go for a nice long walk.
- Do I feel tired? I can take a break/nap.
- Am I hungry? I can eat!
- Am I starving? I can ask myself how I can ease into meal time so that I don’t devour everything in my kitchen (natural response to STARVING, right?).
Here’s what having freedom with food looks like for me today:
- I wake up, and I don’t think about food first thing
- I ease into my days, thinking about what I have to do & what I want to get done
- I end my days feeling accomplished, settled, and satisfied
- I exercise regularly, because I know it helps me to feel good (not because I “have-to” or “should” – Authentically You helps to release yourself from these kinds of rules)
- I plan out my eating for the week very loosely (a post on that here) because I know in doing so I’ll have the things I want at home, feel less overwhelmed, and will be intentional about eating what sounds good
- I am not limited to eating only certain foods – I have permission to eat ANYTHING that I want, and from this place, I choose what would feel good
- I recognize that my goal is to feel good and I (for the most part) make choices that are in line with that desire
- I treat myself well in every choice that I make – Do I want dessert? What amount would be enjoyable AND allow me to feel good? Do I want to sleep in? How late would I be happy with sleeping in, while still having enough time to have the morning/day that I want?
This thinking is simple. After while, this thinking becomes natural. Today, I’m in love with treating myself kindly – I don’t see any other way to do it.
When you first begin thinking/speaking to yourself in these ways, it’s definitely not as natural, but it feels SO good. You’ll find yourself thinking things like: Is it really okay to be this flexible with myself? This nice to myself? This easy on myself? Should I be more strict?
You’ll think these things ONLY because it’s SO not normal for you to not have rules or 1,000,001 external guidelines guiding you toward making your every next move. That’s why teaching others to let go of rules is so important to me – because it’s SO mentally freeing and makes so much room for joy.
I believe in the power of BEING yourself, liking yourself, and feeling good. I believe in it’s power to allow us to live the lives we want to live, and therefore, be better because of it.
I believe that when we feel good, we want to continue feeling good. When we feel good, a spiral effect is created – we’re nicer to ourselves and others. It’s good for everyone.
This is a bit about what food freedom means to me. What would it mean/look like for you?
Here are some questions to help you reflect:
- What is my relationship with food like today?
- How much do I think about food? How does that feel for me?
- Do any rules dictate my current decisions? Which ones?
- What would it feel like to let go of these rules?
- If I were to feel confident in listening to my body, what else would be possible for me? What in my life would improve?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below. What does your relationship to food currently look like? If it could look any way you wanted, what would that look like? I’d love to hear!