To me, food freedom is about feeling in control around food, ending emotional eating, and no longer living by ridiculous food rules. It is about giving myself permission to enjoy food for what it is and to recognize what it is not.
In my Food Freedom coaching program, I guide you through several principles and tools that help drastically shift your relationship with food and yourself. Today I wanted to touch briefly on 3 key principles to Food Freedom covered in my program.
Having an abundance mindset. Which is really realizing that there will always be more food tomorrow! If you are reading this, I’m assuming that that means that you have a computer, a phone or a laptop. That you earn a living and live in a developed country where there is abundance around you. It also means that you can buy any food that you desire at any time if you so chose to or at the very least have it delivered to your door. When you start to view the abundance of food around you, you begin to create an abundance mindset towards food over a scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset around food is that you feel like you must eat it all now because tomorrow you’re starting your diet and you won’t be able to eat it again. How many times have we all had the ‘final binge’ before we go on a diet tomorrow? If you notice you’re full but still have food on your plate, put it away because you can always eat it later or tomorrow when you’re hungry again. Food will always be there because there is plenty more food where that came from!
Don’t underrate your nutrition. While finding food freedom there is a fine line between obsessively counting calories and choosing foods that support your physical, mental and emotional health. While someone might be able to stop overeating with the mindset piece alone, it’s going to make it SO much harder if you’re eating in a way that’s contributing to cravings, energy crashes, and ravenous hunger each and every day. And it's worth pointing out that many processed foods are also *designed* to be addicting by lighting up the pleasure centers of your brain. They elicit a dopamine response with high amounts of salt and sugar, that you would never find in whole foods. What you eat has a direct, immediate impact on your health, mood, and energy levels.
Banish the food police. First of all, let’s identify the food police. The food police is that vocal inner judge that determines if the food you are consuming is bad or good. It is the sum of every food rule that you have. A few common judgements that your inner food police may make are:
Don't eat after 6 pm
Avoid all carbs
Don't eat fattening food
Sweets are bad
You didn’t work out today, so you dont deserve to eat that
You ate too much, you should skip the next meal
Snacking is bad
You are not born with food judgments. Although some “rules” might not seem bad, they can be harmful when listening to external factors instead of your internal cues.
This internal voice develops through years of dieting and exposure to messages in magazines, on television or from friends and family. The food police set the rules by which your eating behaviours are judged. Today I challenge you to make observations in place of judgements. Instead of tracking calories and fat grams, write down how you feel before and after eating. This can include your hunger and fullness levels, mood, cravings, energy level, body sensations and any judgments you note.
And then Identify all of the food police’s irrational rules and beliefs and challenge those thoughts. Banish any absolutes like “must,” “perfect,” “should,” “shouldn’t,” “bad” or “awful.” Replace the thoughts and phrases with rational and reasonable ones. Use words like “may,” “can” and “is OK,” as in, “I can eat whenever I’m hungry” or, “It’s OK to have dessert two nights in a row.”
There's a part of you that knows that you can have a healthy relationship with food without dieting.
For years, I too was stuck in the emotional eating cycle and found myself using food as an escape from my emotions. I thought if I could just have some control around food it would all end. When in fact, bringing awareness to my issues, developing emotional mastery and learning how to reframe was the true key to my success.
Just a few years ago, I was using food to comfort every emotion that I could. I had no idea how to even begin to climb out of the perpetual cycle I was in. I began by bringing awareness to my emotions and allowing myself to feel for the first time in years. Processing your emotions isn't as scary as it sounds, but it is truly liberating!
Ready to feel that way?
I'll teach you how I did it!
What to do next...
Any questions? Leave me a comment below.
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