Intuitive Eating Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

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The authors state, “Call a truce; stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give in” to your forbidden foods, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.”

 Have you been there before? I have for sure. Whenever I’ve tried to avoid certain foods in my diet- I’ve always ended up craving them even more. I’ve also observed this with my diabetes patients, in particular. One gentleman, who said he had never really cared for desserts or sweets much before, after being diagnosed with diabetes (and being led to believe that diabetes meant avoiding sugar forever), found that he was literally having dreams at night about candy bars and M&M’s…the food that he thought he could never have began to hold a mysterious power over him.

 Because of experiences like that with many patients and clients over the years, I came to believe strongly in the principles of Intuitive Eating and I have adopted the principles into my life…it is just how I think now. Of course, there are still times that I eat un-intuitively. It is not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight…it is definitely a process.

 Many people are scared to try to allow themselves “unconditional permission to eat”…they’re afraid that they won’t stop eating once they start. It takes time and it takes practice to truly understand that you don’t have to eat as much as possible of a certain food, because, it will be available whenever you want it. Thinking about food this way truly allows us the freedom to eat healthy foods and some not-so-healthy foods. And, the really neat thing that I have found is that when I truly tune in to what my body wants- a large percentage of what my body truly craves is really healthy stuff!

 Do you give yourself unconditional permission to eat?

 What are your thoughts about “Making Peace with Food”?

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9 responses to “Intuitive Eating Principle 3: Make Peace with Food

  1. Making peace with food is quite literally my lifetime battle (ironically your blog is like the answer to MY blog today). Food has always held a mysterious power over me, and perhaps that’s because from the time I was young I believed it was something I loved but shouldn’t have much of. I’ve been thinking about buying Intuitive Eating. I even had it in my hands at the bookstore over the weekend. Is it a good read?

    • angiesappetite

      Hey Mrs. Myers! For some reason, I can’t link to your blog from here….I was hoping to read your post today…

      I would highly recommend Intuitive Eating- I’ve used it in my nutrition and weight loss classes for years- it is worth reading several times- as I said in the post- it is a process that is definitely worth it. If you pick it up, I’d love to hear what you think.

  2. Great post. The story about the diabetic man dreaming about M&Ms is classic! I have actually come a very long way in my ability to intuitively eat, and give myself unconditional permission to do so. As a dietitian I find it very hard NOT to think about everything I put in my mouth, but I am getting much much better, especially as I read everyone’s blogs!

  3. How true-when I was in college,we(my mom and me)tried the GM diet just to see if it worked. By the second day itself both of us were practically dreaming about the stuff we were not allowed to eat. On the third day we called it off when we started to list out dishes we wanted to pig-out on once we were done with our GM diets 😉

  4. How do you handle intuitive eating when you have a medical condition and/or a physician, like your M&Ms guy, that truly restricts your diet? Not that I’m in this position now, but when I was pregnant I craved sushi more than ever before, but was told by my doctor that I couldn’t have it.. that made me want it even more.. I’m sure there are others who have different medical conditions with physicians that tell them to avoid certain foods which makes them one that one thing even more – how do you overcome that?

  5. I loved the article. It is so true the day you want to forbid yourself of something at that very instant you crave it all the more!

  6. I haven’t made peace with this one yet…even when I try to give myself unconditional permission to eat something, there’s still that “guilt” voice in my mind telling me something is bad! I really believe though that I will find the peace I’m looking for…it’s just a matter of increasing my self-love. I have read Intuitive Eating…awesome book. Also good is the book It’s Not About Food.

  7. Yes, making peace with food is important. I try not to have “forbidden” foods. But I am still careful with “trigger” foods; they usually involve some sort of carbs for me….

    Also, I think Amy brings up a great point. I can relate to the sushi cravings during pregnancy. Also, I have never wanted to eat soft cheeses more than when I was pregnant…

    I have gallstones and have had several episodes. I’ll have to have my gallbladder removed soon, but I want to wait until the toddler is a bit older. There are MANY foods that I should avoid to minimize my chances of aggravating my gallbladder again prior to surgery. I am trying to find substitutes for the “forbidden” foods. For example, hard boiled eggs apparently cause problems in many people (in fact, my last episode happened on Easter, and I had eaten some hard boiled eggs.) Anyway, I did some research and apparently poached eggs are not as problematic for many people. I now have one poached egg once in a while, and it helps me not to want hard boiled eggs as much. Also, towards the end of my pregnancy, I finally figured out that vegetarian “sushi” (veggies with rice wrapped in seaweed) helped me to get over my sushi graving.

  8. eatingwithsally

    Great post Angie 🙂

    Everything in moderation is what I always say!!

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