"Call a truce - stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat (all foods)."
~ The Intuitive Eating Workbook
Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
Making peace with food comes from giving yourself permission to eat all foods and making sure you have a variety of foods available. Sounds reasonable, right?
Sure, but I'm guessing that somewhere in your past relationship with food, that permission was denied or the food wasn't available - for whatever reason. For example...
Remember when you were a little kid and you had to ask your parent or caregiver for a cookie, a soda, some chips, candy - usually a food that was considered less healthy by the adults in your life and therefore wasn't within grabbing reach (if in the house at all)?
I remember having to ask for dessert because the cookie, brownie, sweet whatever was usually in a noisy cookie tin or wrapped in noisy-to-unwrap piece of foil. I could reach the dessert just fine, but my Mom's razor sharp hearing would always catch me. To my Mom's credit, she wanted me to be healthy and not just eat dessert all day.
BUT, in hindsight, this taught me that I didn't have full permission to eat sweets and that I couldn't be trusted to self regulate how much sweet food I'd eat - two issues that DEFINITELY came up in my disordered eating recovery.
If this scenario sounds at all familiar, how do you get beyond the lack of trust you may have round certain foods? A lack of trust that may have come from years of restriction of that food or foods? How do you call a truce to the food fight and give yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods?
One of the first steps is to make all foods available (literally and figuratively) - regularly. Literally stocking your pantry/fridge with a variety of foods - nutritious foods (packaged just as much as whole foods) and fun foods (chips, sweets, chocolate, snack foods, etc) is key to making peace with food and being able to honor your hunger and eat intuitively at any time.
The second step is to figuratively make the foods available. You do this by mentally and emotionally learning to trust yourself around all foods (i.e. listen to and honor hunger/fullness). Easy to say, tricky to do when you've been entrench in diet mentality for many years.
So, go slow have patience. Don't tackle all the previously forbidden foods at one time. You may feel anxious, like you'll get out of control and eat the whole package of the forbidden food, and yeah, you might.
BUT, you won't do that forever.
The eat-the-whole-package symptom comes from years of deprivation of the forbidden food. The more forbidden food is available, this less allure it will have. It will return to being just what it is - food.
These two steps are inseparable as you begin to heal your relationship with food. You won't re-learn how to trust yourself around all foods unless they're available - regularly. Remember you were born with having this trust and intuition, diet culture stole that innate wisdom from you.
Now it's time to... Get. It. Back.
In order to help you get started in making all foods available in your pantry/fridge, I've created a handy grocery shopping list that I've used with clients over the years - give or take a few individual preferences. You can download the list HERE.
Wishing you much peace with food!