Permission is power.
Ever since we were young, if we were told we can’t have something or not to do something, that particular thing instantly became more attractive and the fact we ‘couldn’t’ have it just made us want it more.
There’s something in our genetic make up that makes defying rules exciting and exhilarating to us! In fact, when you are restricting food (or anything for that fact!) you are fighting biology. Your body isn’t getting what it needs, so your brain responds by becoming preoccupied with thoughts of that food and your senses heighten so that you will react by feeding yourself. Because this is the body’s survival instincts!
I first hand have experienced the power of permission when it comes to disordered and restricted eating behaviours. For many years I saw foods as only ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – of which bad foods were strictly off limits. As soon as I developed this ‘black and white’ thinking patterns, my thoughts around food and meal times changed. I was constantly thinking about food – what I had eaten, how many calories I had eaten, what I will eat next meal, what I will eat tomorrow etc. I became obsessed and my brain only had room for food thoughts, nothing else.
‘Dieting’ had become my life. And it was exhausting! Because restriction takes energy! It’s draining and you can only keep it up for so long. Because then follows the binge. And the constant restrict-binge-restrict cycle begins. Deprivation and continual restriction, only feed this cycle.
I was stuck in this cycle for over 2 years. I even remember vividly in the lead up to one Easter, I restricted everything and only eating what I deemed 100% ‘clean foods’, so then on Easter night when I had received all this chocolate I hadn’t had for months, I binged. I ate multiple Cadbury eggs and a whole 640g bucket of Peanut M&Ms on my own. And I remember lying on the lounge afterwards feeling nauseous, with my heart was racing and sweating. That was one of the biggest wake up calls for me.
I made the commitment to myself to change how I viewed food and challenge the ‘black and white’ and ‘all or nothing’ thinking patterns I had developed. I found when you stop viewing foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or off limits, they no longer have this attractive allure over you and you really don’t want them as much any more. They don’t have that same power over you that they once did.
True peace and freedom with foods comes from neutralising ALL foods – we have to let go of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels, and drop the judgement around food and around ourselves; because eating a donut does not make you a bad person!
What even makes a food ‘good’ or ‘bad’ anyway? Of course certain foods will provide you with more nutritional benefits then others; but we have to consider the mind, body and spirit in this too. Because we eat for more than just physical reasons; we eat for pleasure, satisfaction, nourishment and self-care. So if a cookie is going to make you feel good in this present moment, you should eat the cookie and not feel an ounce of guilt about it!
Okay, so I know what your thinking – “but if I give myself complete permission to eat anything I want, I will just eat EVERYTHING!”.
I understand, I’ve been there. This might happen for a short time, its normal but it won’t last long; the thrill of eating anything and everything with no portion control or consideration for nutrient content will wear off fast. But you need to give your mind and body time to adjust; they need time to reset and trust that you won’t restrict again and that it is not longer in a state of starvation or famine so it doesn’t need to send signals to binge on everything in sight.
Mindful and intuitive eating go hand in hand with permission. When you give yourself full permission, you start to become a mindful eater and notice how certain foods make you feel and affect your body. You realise what makes you feel good and you start to learn your body’s boundaries. While it may not seem like it ate the time, this stage of freely ‘over eating’ is necessary in learning to trust and tune back into your body’s hunger and satiety signals. It is essential in helping you gain a better understanding of balance and portion control and what is innately right for your unique body.
By giving unconditional permission you are opening the door for choice. You don’t have to eat everything now; there is always tomorrow. You don’t have to eat perfectly; you just have to chose to nourish and satisfy your body however is right and however will make you feel good in this moment.
Continually reinforce this to yourself. Because you are worthy of a life beyond restriction of food rules. You are worthy of freedom. You are worthy of happiness and balance!
Do you long to let go of food rules? Would you like to experience complete food freedom? Would you like to give up dieting for good and make peace with your body, but need a little help and support getting there? I would love to support and guide you along this journey. Please reach out and set up a FREE coaching consultation with me here, so we can get you on your way to food freedom and balanced living!
Be sure to join me over on Instagram (@eb.fiitness) for daily motivation, recipes and fitness tips! xxx