Making peace with your food starts with a plan. I don’t know about you, but I love to make lists. I make a list for everything to help me prioritize my tasks, stay organized and accomplish what needs to get done. How often do you make lists throughout your day? To-do lists, shopping lists, what-not to eat lists?
Lists play a prominent role in the life of a chronic dieter. Some of these lists are written out, others are likely ingrained in your head. The “good” versus “bad” food lists draws a line between the foods you allow yourself to eat and those you don’t, which inevitably establishes a barrier that you “cannot” cross.
Do you overindulge when you allow yourself to eat from the “bad” food list? Most likely you do because you are experiencing deprivation from this food item that has become taboo for you. This is exactly why you overindulge; it’s called deprivation backlash.
When a “bad” food is eaten, there is usually a large amount of negativity that follows, usually in the form of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. This may lead to more detrimental eating habits that ultimately sabotage your relationship with food and your body.
Making peace with food means allowing all foods into your eating world so that all foods are emotionally equal to you. Notice I didn’t say nutritionally equal. We recognize that some foods are more nutrient-rich than others. But while you are learning to make peace with food, nutrition quality must be put to the side. Only after all foods are on the same playing field will you then be able to make choices based on the nutrient profile without the diet mentality creeping back in.
4 Steps to Make Peace with Food
- Write down all the foods that you don’t allow yourself to eat.
- Plan out one-by-one when you are going to purchase that food and when and where you are going to eat it.
- Make sure you plan to do this when you feel calm, not stressed and not hungry.
- Explore how you feel when you eat each food on your list. Is it as good as you expected? What surprises did you experience?
Remember to be patient with yourself, making peace with food takes time, but it is well worth the effort. Making peace with food helps you reclaim the intuitive eater from within so you can enjoy a new relationship with food.