When I tell my clients they can eat what they want, they usually respond with
some version of “Huh?”
“You mean I can eat pizza?” Yes.
“Ice cream?” Yes.
They tend to go two different directions with this stunning information.
Either into Wild Child I-can-stay-up-as-late-as-I-want-mode: Whoo hoo! I can eat whatever I want!! Pass the cocktail weenies and cotton candy!
Or they go into Inner Dictator freak out mode: WHAT!!! I’ll get big as a house if I eat that way! Are you crazy! Pass me the -10 calorie ice cream bars and carrot sticks! And get me a diet plan while you’re at it!
Neither one of these are what I mean by eating what you want.
We’ve spent so much time depriving ourselves of certain foods and then rebelling against the deprivation, that the idea of eating what we want from a balanced place is completely foreign. When you’re in that deprivation/overindulgence cycle, you’re ping-ponging back and forth between those reactive behaviors. You lose sight of the bigger picture.
You create the bigger picture by redefining what you want–a compelling, juicy, vision for life that includes foods you want, but more importantly, includes the YOU that you want.
Here are some questions to help you determine the YOU that you want:
How would you like to feel about yourself at the end of the day?
What are 3 actions you could take each day to cause you to feel that way?
What does your body feel like at it’s best? (e.g. energized, satisfied-but-light, strong, etc…)
What could you eat that would cause you to feel that way?
What else can you do to cause your body to feel that way?
And, in the moment when you’re noodling on whether or not to have that chocolate sundae, you can ask yourself this:
Knowing that it’s perfectly ok to have this if I want (and I can truly savor and enjoy it and stop when I’m satisfied), is it in alignment with the ME I really want?
How will I feel about myself after I eat it?
Am I eating it to avoid something unpleasant?
Will it be delicious?
These are not trick questions, sometimes you’ll choose the sundae (but without the guilt). What you’ll find as you start to live in the space between the inner dictator and the wild child, is that sometimes you won’t choose it.
Not because you can’t or shouldn’t, but simply because it’s not what you want.