I can vividly remember an experience with eating 1 (ok like 4) too many donuts years ago. I went to my favorite gluten free bakery to buy a big box of these amazing pumpkin donuts. I got a box of 10 because that was how many they had left. At the time, my parents lived about 1/2 a mile from the bakery, so I thought “I will pick up donuts for the whole fam on my way over!”
Nothing makes you feel like daughter of the year like rolling in with a delicious and unexpected box of pumpkin donuts.
I sat in the car, put on my seatbelt and decided I would eat just 1 of the donuts. It tasted so good! I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to have another half. I didn’t want my family to know that I had already eaten some, so I finished off that second half, too. I started to drive, but after only a few feet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted MORE. I reached my hand into the box while driving and grabbed a third donut. Crumbs were going everywhere and I realized it would be strange to bring an odd number of donuts. Would everyone know I had eaten some? Odd numbers can creep me out. There is a reason why a dozen is 12 and not 13, am I right?! This odd number needed remedied. I pulled the car over halfway between the bakery and the house to eat a fourth.
I felt so terribly about myself after eating 4 donuts. I felt so uncomfortable in my skin. I felt my belly ache and my heart heavy and I wanted to cry. I shoved two more donuts in my face before driving the rest of the way to my parents’ house. I showed up with 4 (out of the original 10) donuts. The box may or may not have looked a little empty.
If you’re assuming that this story happened when I was in my desperate restrictive dieting days, you would be assuming incorrectly. This happened after I had been working on my relationship with food for almost 2 years! Considering where I had been in the past, I was actually in a pretty positive place at this time. And, yes, this still happened.
I want you to really hear this: I had already started to eat intuitively at this time. I was implementing some of the principles and trying to honor my body. I was doing my best at the time and doing our best does not mean doing things perfectly. At that time in my life, the story I just shared with you actually was growth — because I didn’t restrict my food the following day or beat myself up with exercise.
I didn’t find intuitive eating, snap my fingers, and *all of a sudden* develop a perfectly positive relationship with food over night. It was a practice. It took time. It was slow growth and slow change.
And oh my gosh was it worth it. Because do you know what happened earlier this week?
I went to that same bakery (it’s my absolute favorite) with a friend. We drank coffees and ate breakfast and when it was time to go home I loaded up a box of goodies to take to my parents’ house. They’ve moved to a new place, which is more of a trek – about a 15 minute drive from the bakery. I drove the whole way to their house, pumpkin donuts sitting right next to me the entire time, and I didn’t even once think about reaching into the box to eat one of those donuts. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t painful. It didn’t feel like a game of pinball in my brain (just take a bite, NO DON’T TAKE A BITE, just one donut, DON’T EAT THE DONUT). It wasn’t restriction. It wasn’t self-denial. It wasn’t willpower.
It was just a girl driving with a box of donuts.
It was nothing.
It didn’t happen overnight. I am 100% committed to being REAL with you about the honest time and investment in myself that shifting the way I see myself and food took.
But, it DID happen!
Here are a few of the daily practices that helped:
- I stopped viewing intuitive eating as another diet and started to think about it as relationship work. Rather than seeing the principles of IE as rules that I had to follow or could fail at, I saw them as suggestions to build a more positive relationship with myself.
- I gave myself unconditional permission to eat all foods. No more good food v. bad food. No more cheat days. No more being a better person if I ordered a salad. No more falling off the wagon or starting again on Monday. Just food is food is food, the end. Side note: this was hard for me when I first heard about intuitive eating, because I have celiac disease and therefore eat gluten free. At first, I worried that IE wasn’t for me! But, I ultimately discovered that food freedom is for all of us, even those of us with autoimmune diseases like Celiac or food allergies (If you’re in that same boat, I talk more about this here on episode 12 of the Unbound Healing podcast).
- I surrounded myself with people who saw me for more than a number on the scale and encouraged me to see myself that way, too!
- I stopped defining myself by my struggles. I was no longer a dieter. I was no longer a binge eater. I was a human being who had dieted. I was a human being who had experienced a binge. Big difference there!
- I thought about each choice that I made as an opportunity to meet my present needs as well as to love on/invest in my future self.
These were things I had to remind myself and come back to come back to daily!
Is there one that would feel good for you to start practicing today? Is there one that you’re already practicing that is helping you to feel great today? Comment and let me know!
In Finally Free Program, we teach you how to implement these practices (and many more) in your real life. If you’re looking for support (and by support I mean clear guidance, loving encouragement, honest coaching, step-by-step practices and proven methods to help you move forward, and a kick butt community) to get to a place where a donut is just a donut, the doors to Finally Free Program close tomorrow. We won’t be opening up enrollment again for a full year, so if you feel like this coaching program + community might be for you, here are the details for you to check out today.
I don’t think food is the most important thing in this world. But, I know firsthand that struggles with food, obsession with food, trying to control food, feeling out of control around food, and tying one’s personal worth to food can steal us away from the most important things in this world.
If you’re struggling in your relationship with food and want to get back to focusing on what’s most important, I would love for you to join us here in Finally Free. Last call before the doors close tomorrow (Saturday, 9/30)!
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