I posted about the beginning of November about how the scale can really mess with your progress (you can check out the post here). I wanted to do a post about my experience with it because I found it to be incredibly helpful! As most of you know if you’ve been reading my blog regularly I am still recovering from Bulimia. I found going this past month without weighing myself to be so amazing in terms of my self-esteem and body image. I am feeling leaner, healthier, and I had way less bulimic episodes this month than usual!
Another crazy thing I did along with chucking my scale out was consistently fill my house with “fear foods”. This is going to sound completely nuts to some people but bear with me for a sec! For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about in regards to fear foods- it’s basically all the foods I’ve completely restricted myself having for a large majority of my life. Have you ever avoided having certain foods in your house because you know you will most likely eat them all in one sitting? Or you feel like you don’t have any “control” around certain foods? Well- I have a lot of these foods because I started going down this road at a young age- basically anything with sugar in it specifically ice-cream, chocolate, halloween candy, junk food, etc. I was incredibly scared to have these foods available in my house because I always remembered binging on it or overeating it when I was faced with it. I had denied myself these foods for so long during my eating disorder that I had a built up a lot of guilt and shame surrounding these foods and I could never feel quite normal around them. I constantly felt like I had no control over these foods and if I had ice-cream or chocolate in my house I would end up eating it all in one day because it felt like it was always taunting me and its all I could think about. If you have ever felt remotely like this around certain foods I suggest you try this little experiment!
Think of that food that has a certain pull to you and you don’t really trust yourself around it.
Now go buy TONS OF IT. The key is to have more than you could ever eat in one sitting available. If you just get one Reese’s chocolate peanut butter cup it’s still restricting yourself and you are never going to get past that feeling that the food is “special”.
Now- you’ve stocked your house with allllll your favourite foods (that was fun wasn’t it? I admit i was a bit terrified I would run into a client in the grocery store and they would think- what the hell kind of nutritionist are you? I was worried about judgement even from my room-mate. But I knew that this was going to really help me in the long run. I don’t want to feel out of control around foods and I don’t want to deprive myself from delicious things!) I bought 2 different kinds of ice-cream, bulk chocolate, peanut butter cups, Oreo’s, M&M’s, you name it. I also bought tons of fresh produce and my regular healthy foods that I love.
I got home and I put everything away. Now here is the tricky part. YOU HAVE TO GIVE YOURSELF UNLIMITED PERMISSION TO EAT THESE FOODS. You may think that as soon as you give yourself that permission you will start eating everything at once and never be able to stop. But guess what- once you TRULY give yourself permission the food loses that magical pull. Have you ever sat down and eaten an entire bag of apples in one sitting? Probably not! This is because you don’t have any guilt or shame built around apples- you eat them when you are hungry and you don’t feel compelled to keep eating them because they are “treat” and you swear just one more bite.. I’ll never have another apple again.. For a lot of people- they eat a bit of ice-cream and they think “I ruined everything! I might as well polish off this entire carton of ice-cream because I already blew my diet and I don’t want it in the house any more”. If you are relatively normal around foods and have never really experienced the dieting/binging cycle this may sound completely foreign to you. But I can tell you that I suffered with this for a LONG time. I was so obsessed with being perfect that if I ate too many calories I would immediately declare the day ruined and end up eating everything I was craving for the past 10 days in one sitting.
So: Stock your house up with those foods that you love, and give yourself permission to eat them; whenever you are hungry. This is important. Listen to your hunger and fullness levels and try to avoid filling voids that are not actually hunger related. NO SHAME OR JUDGEMENT. As soon as you catch yourself judging yourself or feeling guilty for indulging in these foods you’ll be encouraging the cycle. Enjoy every bite and really feel HAPPY about your choice! And by the way this takes some time and will not happen on your first week! I still had binge episodes, I still caught myself feeling guilty for having some chocolate instead of fruit. But the more I changed my thoughts around these foods and surrounded myself with them and let myself have them whenever I was hungry the easier it got! The goal is eventually to think that an apple will have the same pull as a chocolate bar. They are both food. They are not “good” or “bad” they will not “make you fat” or make you “thin”. Food is food.
I can tell you that now by the end of the month after consistently doing this I no longer feel crazy around these foods. A few times I actually FORGOT about the ice-cream and chocolate in the house which has never happened to me before! I can now just have these foods in the pantry and not feel tempted to eat them all the time. They are there if I want them but I don’t have to eat them and I don’t think about them.
The first week or two was definitely difficult so don’t give up if you find yourself eating them all right away. This is part of the process. I had to restock several times over the course of the month and I was definitely doubting myself at some points- is this the way to go? Should I be stocking my house with crap foods? Doesn’t that just make me more likely to eat it? And the answer is NO. Now I can have a few chocolates or M&M’s and feel satisfied and happy. The old me would have eaten that entire carton of ice-cream mixed with the entire bag of M&M’s until I made myself sick.
So maybe this sounds completely crazy but it’s a part of my recovery that I wanted to share with you guys. Food should not have any power over you. Food is food. And I know I’m not perfect and I will still overeat- but this little experiment combined with not stepping on the scale really made me feel like a totally sane person. I have more energy to hang out with friends and work and enjoy life instead of obsessing over food! I think that’s something everyone that has ever struggled with food needs to experience. Depriving of yourself of the things you love is only going to make you want it more!
I hope this post was helpful for anyone that has ever struggled with the dieting binging cycle.
As always- feel free to leave a comment or message me for any questions! 🙂