I recently had the joy of holding my 2 ½-year-old grandniece while she ate a blueberry ice cream cone on a beautiful day at the Oregon coast. As I sat in that moment, I tried to think of the last time I saw a woman eating an ice cream cone without guilt, purely for pleasure. While she slowly savored every lick with a smile, I felt sad that so many of us are unable to experience food as we did in childhood.
What if you could eat what you wanted, without any guilt. What if there were no “forbidden” foods? Studies have shown that if you let a child eat whatever they want in a 2-week period, they will get the nutrition their body needs - not each day – but within that 2-week period. (They might eat only oreos for the first two days but they will end up craving the nutrients they need). You see, children are the experts on physical hunger and that’s the piece we lose touch with when we begin to eat for emotional reasons.
One of the first steps in establishing a healthy relationship with food is relearning how to listen to what your body is craving because the body knows and you can learn to trust it to do its job for you.
Many of my clients (without medical dietary restrictions) have found it helpful when I instruct them to choose their favorite forbidden food (donuts, chocolate, chips?) and then give themselves permission to eat as much of it as they wish in a one-week period – for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they so desire. Counterintuitive, yes, but you will be surprised by what you notice. Try it and pay attention to what your body tells you. It could alter your relationship with food and, ultimately, with yourself.
Resources: When Food is Love, by Geneen Roth