Having spent the last few weeks immersed in studying nutrition I have done a great deal of thinking about food… even more so than normal! This combined with my slowly changing relationship with food has made me come to some conclusions…I am no longer dieting – hoorah but instead I am eating mindfully. It is different!
I am no longer driven by the all consuming need / desire to lose weight or a quick fix but instead I eat to enhance my health and improve my lifestyle.
I have stopped counting calories and now eat quality calories.
I’m giving myself permission to eat the good foods until I am satisfied not depriving myself or denying myself.
I eat when I am hungry and listen to my internal cues rather than being driven by external cues.
and…finally, food is no longer my enemy / nemesis or a trap but to my absolute astonishment it is my ally and liberator. Two words I never ever thought would be written by me about food!
This week has been a hard one for me…I have really struggled with both sleeping and staying positive. What I have found interesting, now I can reflect back, is the speed at which both these factors impacted on my dietary desires and motivations.
I have been virtually sugar-free for months now yet this week the craving for sugar was really strong – I succumbed to cake a couple of times and even though it tasted hideously sweet, I persevered! It would have been so easy to fall back in to old habits – shockingly easy in fact – the addictive power of sugar is so scary. With a supreme conscious effort I have had a good talking to myself and ignored the voice of sugar whispering to me.
Once upon a time I would have chastised myself for this ‘slip’…but instead I am celebrating my strength and the overwhelming desire to be healthy.
For a long time I, like many others I have talked to, seem to have been in the pursuit of the perfect diet – the key few ‘must have’ ingredients or ‘must do’ approaches to eating. I have followed the latest hot topic dietary approaches and listened to all the ‘experts’ wanting to share their ‘dietary magic’. At times I have been lulled in to the promises of quick fix approaches – which have ‘worked’- but of course any weight loss has slowly returned or different diet approaches have not be sustainable. If I have followed a restrictive diet my emotional reaction has always ended in rebellion.
I have realised over the last year that for me to be successful in maintaining my diet -not on a diet – I must firstly identify my own individual appetite drivers and my food choices. Once I understood my triggers to eat, triggers not to eat I then became able to manage my weight. Fructose was a trigger for me – so I removed it. Snacking and being unaware was another trigger.
I now have a sustainable positive mindset about choosing the foods I eat and the amounts of food my body wants. I actively listen out for the feelings of satiety and most importantly and totally amazingly for someone for whom bulimia has been a constant companion for so, so many years I am eating guilt free. It has been such a liberating experience – I am now free from my bingeing habits and the suffocating feeling that food is controlling me.