Welcome back to the Balanced Dietitian podcast. Happy last day of May! How are we feeling, my friends? Today, on the podcast, we’re talking about the reasons why food freedom doesn’t work for you.
This is a little bit different because I believe that food freedom CAN happen for everybody. I believe that we were all born intuitive eaters and we can all heal our relationship with food for the better. You can work towards having a better relationship with food and with your body, so that you can truly feel more at peace and live the life that you want. I truly believe that, BUT sometimes food freedom doesn’t work.
So, today I want us to talk about the reasons why food freedom may not be working for you, and then we can talk about some things we can do a bit differently so it CAN work for you.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE DISCUSS:
[02:30] All the thoughts, the beliefs, the emotions that we have around food and our bodies, we are taught
You were not born hating your body. You were not born afraid of carbs. You were not born believing that after 8:00 PM your body shuts down and you cannot eat any longer.
All of these things are all messages that all of us have learned over time, living in diet culture, and having these different experiences.
The exciting this is, it doesn’t mean that we stay there. Right? We can truly heal our relationship with food and our body!
[03:04] You can’t have food freedom while you are still restricting
If you have tried to heal your relationship with food and your body, and you’ve tried to have food freedom, but it’s just not working for you, it may be because, you’re still restricting. You’re still dieting.
One of the reasons why this may be the case is because we think we need less food than actually we need. A lot of us believe that we need very little food to survive, which is not true. Our body needs quite a lot of food.
You may be holding onto some fear foods; you may be holding onto the fear of what’s gonna happen to your body if you eat more food.
But it could also be psychological restrictions that are holding you back. If we haven’t done the brain work, and we’re still psychologically restricting ourselves, there’s still so many rules that we have put into place. There’s still so many thoughts that we haven’t unlearned about food and our bodies. We’re no longer dieting, but we’re still holding the beliefs and ideas that a dieter would mentally.
So, what we wanna do if this is the case? If you find yourself being in that boat, the first important step is actually learning how much food your body needs to function. How much food is enough food for you?
There are some important shifts that we need to make when it comes to this, and in the Balanced Program we concentrate on two big ones:
[7:05] Internalized fat phobia
Another reason that food freedom may not work for you, is that you still have not addressed your own in internalized fat phobia.
If we still have the belief that larger bodies are not good bodies and that thinner bodies are ultimately better, or if we still have beliefs that our bodies are inadequate and not good, it can be really hard to have complete food freedom. Some of us, even when we heal our relationship with food and our body, can still have some of these hangups. The important thing to remember is that the goal of food freedom is not to have complete body love and completely accept yourself fully, but there is a difference between being able to be more neutral about our body, being able to live in our body and accept our body versus, believing that our body is not good enough.
When we still have a lot of these hangups and we still have a lot of that internalized fat phobia, it can be very, very difficult to truly heal. Those thoughts are really powerful!
Living in diet culture for so many years has probably taught us these beliefs, so we don’t want to have shame over it. We don’t have a guilt over it. We also can’t ignore the immense power that having those types of thoughts will have on our behaviours. You do need to do the work, not only for the betterment of your own relationship with food and body, but also for the betterment of our society in general. The more people who heal, the better.
[09:46] Food Freedom is about trust
Another reason that food freedom does not work for you is that we do not trust ourselves. There are still conditions around food. There are still some rules here and there.
I presented a webinar a couple weeks ago, and one of the examples that I gave was this idea that we cannot trust ourselves and therefore need diets. A lot of us have been sold the idea of, you don’t have the capacity to just nourish yourself, you must micromanage and control what you are eating and when. This really breaches the trust with ourselves, right?!
When we were born, we all had a full tank of self-trust, and with time, what happens over time is that diet culture starts to poke holes in that tank.
“Eat this, not that!”
“This is not good for you.”
“Eat at this time, not that time.”
“Don’t eat past 8:00 PM.”
With every rule that we have, every diet that we have, every messages that we get, we stop connecting to the body that we have and start focusing on external cues, over internal cues.
We stop like trusting ourselves.
Experiences of overeating or binge eating can also affect this. They make us believe that we can’t trust ourself; which is not the case by the way, that’s just a response from the restriction.
You may be asking, “How can I trust myself? You’re telling me like to have food freedom and I can’t even trust myself to not finish the ice cream in the house!”
That part is difficult because in order to have true food freedom, we’re letting go of control. We have to be willing to learn to trust ourselves again. It’s really hard, right? Just like any other relationship, once trust has been breached it can be really difficult to regain that trust.
You are trustworthy.
[12:28] Food Satisfaction
The next reason why food freedom does not work for you, is that the food you are eating does not bring you actual satisfaction. You find yourself eating different foods because someone else has told you or influenced you to eat it but the truth is, we may not actually enjoy it. We don’t take pleasure with the meal experience.
We are creatures that like to be happy in general. Most of us crave foods that make us happy, and that’s really normal, but when we are in a rut or we don’t eat things that are very pleasurable or we follow somebody else’s food plan, it can lead to having even more cravings and searching to find that satisfaction.
I’m not saying that you need to enjoy all the foods you eat at all times. There are some meals that you are going to eat and think, “this is not my favourite, but my body needs food so I need to eat anyways.”
However, even if we’re not enjoying the actual food, we CAN enjoy the meal experience.
Finding enjoyment in the eating experience could mean eating with our partner or a friend. It could mean making the space in which we are eating more enjoyable with candles that smell delicious. It could mean watching a funny show while you eat your meal. You can focus on making the meal experience more appealing so that meals become more pleasurable.
[14:23] The tools and guidance needed to achieve food freedom
When it comes to learning about healing our relationships with food and our bodies to achieve food freedom, there is a ton of information online, but Google and Instagram don’t always give us the right guidance and support that we need.
Healing our relationship with food can be complex because our relationship food and body is complex. If you’ve tried to do it by yourself or you don’t have any support, it may be very difficult to have food freedom.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible. There are plenty of people that heal their relationship with food and body by themselves, but it tends to take a lot longer and be a lot harder.
I really believe that being part of a community and having support are the most important parts in your own healing journey. So many of my clients who first join the program come in saying, “I thought I was the only one.” Being with other people, doing this journey with other people, hearing stories, supporting each other, being in a community, is so important. It helps us to understand that we are not alone. We get to support other people through it and be supported at the same time. So we get to learn faster and we get to implement these changes in a safe space.
On that note, I will let you know that the Balanced Program is open for enrollment, and if you want to, and if you’re ready to, this can be your community.
I would be so honoured and excited to work with you on this journey and really support you in having a great relationship with food and your body.
READY TO HEAL YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD FOR GOOD? JOIN THE BALANCE PROGRAM NOW.
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