Thursday, December 29, 2011
The problem with having a relationship with food that says, "This food is GOOOD, but *this* food is BAAAAAAAAAAAD" is that when we (inevitably) eat something in the BAAAAAAAAAAAAAD category, we start making value judgments about ourselves that spiral into self-loathing and a need to justify BAAAAAAAAAAAD behavior.
Food is food. Some of it is more nutritious than other, some of it is very calorie dense, some of it is delicious, and some of it is vile. When your relationship with it is based more around emotions of fear and self-loathing than around enjoyment and acceptance, then it's appallingly easy to fall into that binge cycle. Because the eating stops being about what tastes good and what nourishes us and becomes about compulsion and guilt.
If we give ourselves permission to eat what genuinely makes us happy, without beating ourselves up over every choice, then that compulsive eating demon has many fewer triggers. Example: yesterday I was alone in my mother-in-law's house because she and hubby went to run an errand. I was a little bit bored and a little bit nibbly, so I had a cookie. It was a really good cookie, sort of almost shortbread style, and I took the time to really enjoy it. I didn't guilt out about it - and I didn't feel the need to EAT MOAR COOKIES!!!! Last night we went to dinner at a steakhouse, and I had a grilled chicken salad; not because I was controlling calories and depriving myself of steak, but because that's what sounded really, really good to me. When we came home, I had a small glass of egg nog with some Kahlua, and one was enough. When I did my status report, I was about a cookie over my calorie budget. But I'm not going to panic, because guess what? I'm not a binge of cookies over my calorie budget!
Developing a healthy relationship with food doesn't mean "only eating healthy foods." It means eating in such a way that you are listening to your body and giving it what it desires and deserves, not a series of deprivations and indulgences triggered by the brain. When I eat like this, I eat sensibly. When I let the emotions and value judgments take over, I binge eat.