A huge part of my recovery from a very unhealthy relationship with food and eating disorders was breaking away from the food rules that held me captive for many years, and learning to eat the foods that I had deemed forbidden. It meant challenging the unhelpful, false, and even harmful, beliefs I held about carbs, sugar, and calories and being willing to trust that I could rely on my body to guide me.
One of my greatest struggles was chocolate and it was something I only consumed during a full fledged binge but longed for on a regular basis. I remember looking at a pan of brownies once and thinking, I’ll never be able to eat just one; it’s either the whole pan or none. This belief terrified and depressed me but was my reality at the time. I had convinced myself that I had no control around it so I did everything I could to avoid it. Thing is, I felt like I had no control because I had given it so much power by restricting it, which is why when I would finally cave, I couldn’t stop myself from eating it.
Calling a Truce with Chocolate
Fast forward and thankfully, things are drastically different now and I eat chocolate every single day. The greatest part? No more bingeing, guilt, or a need to burn it off, nor do I feel a complete loss of control when I’m around it. I can stop at a couple of pieces because I know I can have more tomorrow. I also savor every bite now, whereas before I’d eat it so quickly I wasn’t able to truly enjoy how wonderful it is. There’s a freedom and peace that I never thought could exist.
It took me a long time to get to this point and one of the hardest things as a Dietitian is coaching my clients on the process of healing their relationships with certain foods. People don’t want to know that they have to put in the time to get to this point, but the hard truth is that it won’t happen overnight or even over the course of a month or even three. While I’ve seen dramatic changes in the first few weeks in some of the women with whom I’ve worked, it takes ongoing patience, compassion, and an endless presence of self-love.
Expect the Ebb and Flow
Expecting yourself to transform your relationship with food and stop bingeing right away is one of the worst things you can do for yourself. However, expecting that you will struggle, continue to binge for a while, or even fall back into old habits over the course of your journey will only help you move forward. It’s a constant ebb and flow that requires acceptance. I like to tell my clients, if you had a really unhealthy relationship with a family member that lasted many years, would you expect to be laughing and having fun after one conversation? No, it would take time to learn to trust again and feel comfortable with one another. There would be things to talk about and work through, emotions to express, and the need to be heard and respected. Your relationship with food is the same.
Questions, comment? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to call, text, or email