After learning to honor my hunger in principle two of Intuitive Eating, I turn to a slightly more difficult prospect than simply listening to my body—unconditional permission to eat. The idea is that by religiously following dieting rules and nutrition guidelines, I have deprived my body of certain foods (ie. chocolate, French fries, Starburst, etc.), foods that now my body craves so much that when I allow myself to have them, I binge incessantly. So, with this principle, I give myself unconditional permission to eat all foods, including and especially, chocolate, French fries, and Starburst.
For me, that seemed impossible, and much too difficult. I thought that if I let myself near that much “forbidden,” “bad” food, that I would not be able to control myself, that I would binge and binge until I shamed myself into a hunger-induced stupor. But, I have come to learn, and am working on accepting, the idea that being out-of-control isn’t the issue. There is no loss of willpower or out-of-control in Intuitive Eating. It is only about listening to your body and its natural hunger and satisfaction signals. There aren’t any rules with which to have a loss of willpower or any guidelines at which you can fail. Yet, even knowing this, I was so afraid that if I let myself eat these forbidden foods that I would gain so much weight, a fear that had paralyzed me from beginning this journey dozens of times already.
So I knew, that I if I was to properly, fully, and completely embrace intuitive eating, I needed to move beyond that fear. And I don’t mean, not having that fear anymore. I mean, giving myself unconditional permission to eat even though I was terrified of gaining weight, even though every fiber in my being resisted it, even though every time I even thought about overeating, I wanted to go put on pajama pants and a big T-shirt.
But, even though I started to push forward through my wall of fear, I still thought it was too daunting to start eating as much as I wanted to of every forbidden food. Even the thought of doing that made me almost want to close the “Intuitive Eating” book and start another diet. But, thankfully, I didn’t. I took the advice of the authors and made a list of the “forbidden” foods, and started with one at a time (see below). Then I made sure that I always had that food in the house, and when I wanted it, I gave myself unconditional permission to eat it.
- chocolate milk
- E.L. Fudge Cookies
- oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies
- cream sauces
- fat-full foods (cream cheese, regular sour cream, non-Slow-Churned ice cream, etc.)
I will be posting in the future about my experiences eating some of these forbidden foods, but for now, the list is enough.
What about you—what are your fears in giving yourself unconditional permission to eat? What foods would be on your forbidden food list?