DAY # 25

EAT FAVORITE FOODS.


CHALLENGE BREAKDOWN


Today I will give myself permission to eat my favorite food! 

I want  you to eat the things you TRULY enjoy and stop when you are 75-80% full instead of feeling super full or stuffed. Your goal today is to eat your favorite foods until you feel content or full.  You could eat more, and you might later, but right now you are just experimenting with stopping at “pleasantly content or full” and seeing how it feels to nourish your body with the food you enjoy instead of punishing it by overeating and feeling sick. 

For some people the thought of eating your favorite food might cause anxiety. This is NORMAL for a lot of people who have restricted eating sugar, carbs, pizza, lasagna, or their favorite comfort foods. Pay attention to any mental dialog that is taking place right now as you think about eating your favorite food. Does this challenge cause joy or fear?  Observe your thoughts without judgment and pay attention to what’s going on internally.

If you feel that eating your favorite food is not an option, then choose another food that doesn’t cause the same level of stress. Something you will enjoy so that you can start taking baby steps towards an “all foods fit” philosophy.

For example, if you love ice cream and have a tendency of polishing off the pint every time, then make it a special experience and go out for ice cream. Order a single scoop of your favorite flavor and eat while utilizing your mindful eating skills.  If that doesn’t seem like it can happen, then try another food that you love but maybe don’t feel “out of control” with.

What we are doing is laying down the blueprint for a new you.  A new habit. A new relationship with eating your favorite foods.  Building solid confidence one meal at a time that you can eat and enjoy your favorite foods without guilt, shame or judgment…. or overeating.

If you DO overeat, that is just part of your process. Accept it and don’t lose the lesson! Take a step back to determine WHY you overate… perhaps it tasted amazing and you never allow yourself to eat your favorite foods, perhaps you were super hungry and set yourself to overeat due to low blood sugar levels, perhaps you ate while distracted while watching Netflix, perhaps you ate out of the container, perhaps you had a stressful day. Perhaps, perhaps perhaps.

Take a step back and see what you would change given the same situation. I’ll give you a perfect example…

My girlfriend makes amazing homemade caramels. I’ve always loved them but don’t eat them much because the good ones are made with butter, heavy cream, corn syrup, and sugar. It’s not because those are “bad” foods, it’s just that I’m intolerant to dairy (butter and cream) and corn and have learned to go easy with sugar because I’m sensitive to it as well (it can me really hungry even AFTER I’ve eaten a good meal!). And a combo of the foods I’m sensitive to can take me down when I overeat it, usually making me sick.

{**hint hint: remember the ultimate goal of eating is to feel better after you ate than before you ate. So if you feel miserable before AND after, you have to assess where you can make some changes}.

Just recently while at her house, I had a caramel before lunch because I was hungry. In full disclosure when she said that they were homemade, I knew that I couldn’t wait until after lunch to have one! So I had one (yes, super mindfully) and it was incredible! I felt content with that one and after lunch decided to have another one.

I ate half of it and then the other half about 30-60 minutes later, but it just felt like a little bit too much. And then not too longer after, she grabbed one for herself and plopped one down in front of me while we were working on our businesses together. I struggled with “how you do say no to a new friend without being rude” so I made the conscious decision to eat it with her and enjoy it. My gawd they are just the best things ever if you like fatty fatty tastes + sugar.

But it didn’t make me feel good and then the next day I was sick, sore throat, clearly fighting something (I know my body well).

The take away: ONE caramel is perfect, two is too much with a meal, three might make you sick. Lesson learned, thank you body for letting me know! I will honor your wisdom 🙂

Another way to approach eating that can help slow down the process and stop when you are content, is what many already do.   Every time you eat a bite of food, look at it, smell it, explore the tastes like it is the first time you have ever eaten it.  Take a breath, give a word of thanks for the food you are about to build your body with, and slow the fork down!  Explore the taste, texture, flavors and consistency on your tongue.

If you don’t trust yourself with your favorite food, that’s fine.  My favorite expression is Know Thyself. You can baby step your way into eating your favorite foods by first eating something else that you enjoy but won’t trigger you or cause anxiety about eating it.  Tell a spouse, friend or loved one about what you are doing for support and make time to dine out with them so they can help you slow down and enjoy each bite of your safe food. You do what is best for you.  Only YOU know that.

Today I want you to be very intentional and thoughtful about what you decide to eat.  I really want you to choose foods that you love, mindfully, without judgment and until you feel content and not full or stuffed.  You can either use a smaller dish to serve yourself or leave a couple bites of that favorite meal or snack that you can eat again later today. 

Observe any thoughts of “let me binge eat or abuse my body today by eating junk all day” and think about where they came from. Honor them and try to re-write another story but embrace it and extract the lesson if this is your path today. #nojudgment

When you practice the mindful skills and stay intentional during the meal, it’s really difficult to overdo things. But if you slip in old habits and behaviors, no judgment.  My hope for you is that you enjoy a variety of foods and balanced meals.  But if not, I want you to feel what a day of eating your favorite food(s) feels like from a physical, mental, emotional and energetic perspective.  

The reason I want you to eat your favorite food today is so you can learn to eat it on another level of enjoyment, ideally no guilt and focus on creating satisfaction with food and meals. Extract the wisdom from every experience and learn to savor the flavor.

You got this!


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CHECKING-IN


Ok, what is your favorite foods?  I love my loaded avocado toast, green juice, loaded yogurt bowls, homemade salads, stir-fry with cauliflower rice and roasted sweet potatoes as well as a variety of grains and beans (see my Instagram feed: @nutritionatlanta if you don’t already follow me).  I also love tiramisu, truffle fries, homemade pasta, my mom’s chocolate mousse ladyfinger cake, my neighbors pistachio cake, really good cupcakes, homemade caramels, really good baklava and other treats.  So I will definitely find something that I’ve been craving for awhile and enjoy it very mindfully. Do the same and let me know how it works for you!