In my book life can be lived from two perspectives: Love or Fear.
Fear based living is riddled with making choices that deny, restrict or block you for doing what it is you really want to do. For example refusing to eat that chocolate cake that you really want to eat, but your ‘skinny girl’ is saying will make you ‘fat’ if it passes your lips.
Living life out of love is entirely different. You make choices based on what intrinsically feels right. You say yes to those things that are aligned with what lights you up. You’re not concerned about what other’s will think, or what you should do. You do what you love because it makes you feel damn good. For example if we use the chocolate cake example above, someone living from a place of love would eat the cake. She would tell her ‘skinny girl’ that she’s not up for discussion today (plus she knows that a piece of cake is just that- a piece of cake- not a guaranteed 5kg weight around her hips).
I’ve always had a sweet tooth and when I went from diet to diet the one thing I missed was a really good dessert. Low fat yoghurt and berries didn’t cut it, nor did the sweetener- free brownies sweetened with pumpkin puree (nooo thank you!). What I was really wanting was something I would never have let myself get my hands on, which only made me want it more.
I found that when I wanted pasta but ate a hard boiled egg or cauliflower rice, I would head to the fridge and eat and eat and eat some more, trying to fill the craving that I intuitively knew that bowl of pasta would have done. Right then. Right there.
But fear kept me from eating the pasta. Fear that was robbing me of self trust, which was essentially supporting my craziness around food.
When I decided to experiment and listen to my body: which is to say I decided to trust that it knew what it wanted and I wouldn’t feel guilty about it, I was a breaking point. Things needed to change yet I had no idea what to do. But I knew I couldn’t support the rope that was tied around my neck anymore, yanking me in a direction that I no longer wanted to go.
I was self loathing, tired and unsure of myself. This was affecting every ounce of my life.
As you can imagine it was bloody scary to go from restricting my body of so many things, to allowing my body to eat what it wanted. I had no ounce of trust for it so the idea of gaining weight and potentially binging brought up paralysing fear. Fear that made it almost too difficult to lean in, trust myself and give this a go.
But you know what?… I thought to myself ‘What if this does work? What if these fears I have about not being able to trust myself are in fact a load of crap?’.
Read: you are not your thoughts. You might think you can’t but does that actually mean you can’t?
In listening to my body I started to bravely:
// Eat that chocolate cake when I wanted it
// Cook myself dessert even though I had already enjoyed dessert a few times that week
// Enjoy an extra tablespoon of peanut butter when I wanted to
// Eat a few pieces of chocolate as a snack over the crackers and hummus
// Share dessert with a friend over dinner because I was craving something sweet
Important points on self trust:
1. A balance exists between not depriving yourself of the food you want when you are hungry and using food to make up for all the ways you feel deprived
2. Eating what you want is not the same as eating whenever you want regardless of hunger. It is also not the same as indulging.
3. Eating what you want is about developing trust for yourself and your body, which develops and builds when we give ourselves permission to have choices.
4. Trust for yourself and for your body develops when you choose to make yourself comfortable not miserable, to take care of yourself rather than hurt yourself.
1. Make a list of forbidden foods which your crave and give yourself permission to eat it.
Notice how the food tastes. Is it really that good? Is it how you remembered it to taste?
2. Give yourself permission to choose what you want to eat once a day, or if that is too frightening then try for once a day every few days.
How does your body feel when it give it what it wants? Compare the feelings you are experiencing with those you feel when you eat something that you don’t want.
3. Stay present when eating
// Sit down
// Chew your food
// Eat without distractions
// Put down the spoon/ fork occasionally
// Savour each mouthful
// Appreciate your food- where it has come from, who has helped to bring the food from the earth to the table.
4. Stop being a slave to your skinny girl.
She is bound to pop up when you lean into trying something new- breaking free from the pack- step into giving yourself permission to step up and beam out who you are and what you stand for. For tips see here and here.
I would love to know in the comments section below how you are going to lean into trusting that your body knows what it wants to eat. And please use the social media buttons below to pass on this message to all of your other lady loves! Let’s all support each other in learning to trust that we know what our bodies want and need.
Pictures via @indimaethelabel @koleha and Instagram