- Perhaps it was candy, ice cream, potato chips, cake, pastries or fast food as these were the top guilt inducing foods according to a survey published in Appetite in 2009. Or perhaps it was a late night binge or a craving you succumbed to. Whatever it was for you, let yourself off the hook!
- The other day I was listening to a Tony Robbins podcast where he spoke about how for years he was meticulous and adamantly strict with his diet until his wife came into the picture. A nutritionist who savoured greens juices and salads until one day they went out and she ordered a hot fudge sundae. The voice of a shocked Tony Robbins was comical to hear but when he asked “what are you doing?!” she replied; “living you bastard!” Brilliant.
- Now, a hot fudge sundae is not on my list of indulgences. The sheer thought of dairy to someone who is lactose intolerant is simply, well… intolerable. But at the Canada Day carnival a few weeks ago, though my friend graciously offered to eat the candy off a candy apple for me or lick off the butter and salt and give me the popcorn kernels, instead we walked up to the local shops and found dairy free sherbet. A rainbow of sugars and food dyes and who knows what else and you know what? Who cares! I almost always travel prepared with food but when in doubt, I pick the best thing I can scavenge and savour every last bite of it.
5 go-to tips to enjoying every bite!
- Food is not “good” or “bad,” that’s our labeling of it. Food is an experience. Like all experiences in life, they come with consequences and so if it is a consequence we like, we choose to have that experience again. Likewise if the result was something that we did not like, we choose to avoid it the next time. Don’t like the way you felt after have that ice-cream cone or slice of cake? Remember that and chose to steer clear of it the next time. Instead of being a bad experience, it was a learning experience and one that progressed your health rather than diminished it.
- The mindset of guilt can, in fact, heighten the pleasure of an experience. Think about this for a moment; if drinking was entirely acceptable, would it have been as appealing to you growing up? The same is true for foods. We tend to associate “forbidden” foods with delicious foods and so when we experience guilt, we think that the food must be delicious and we anticipate more pleasure. See the issue?
- Instead of thinking of “forbidden foods”, recognise that it is simply food and is there for you anytime if you choose. Taking the labeling away from food takes the power back from your plate and puts into your hands.
- Choose the healthiest option you can. Neither dairy nor gluten work for me, so even with treats, I avoid these except for the odd thing once or twice a year (or Paris! French baguettes and real, authentic goats cheese beg for a little splurge). For the lemon meringue pie we used a store-bought gluten-free crust mix that, although had some ingredients I normally stay away from, it was a far cry from gluten and something I could feel good in treating myself to!
- Really taste your food. Pick out the flavours, notice the textures. This is the difference between mindlessly scorfing down food without experiencing it vs truly being present to savour it. Closing your eyes removes one of our key senses thereby heightening the others, including taste. Take your time and chew at least 35-40 times which will allow for the optimal digestion of our food to reduce stomach pains of indigestion.
- Bonus: Doing both of these will help us to feel satisfied faster, enabling us to need smaller portion sizes than what we would if we were gulping it down fast.
- Eating a cookie does not mean that the rest of the day has gone to crumbs, quite the opposite! Instead, enjoy the treat and balance it with awesome and healthy meals the rest of the day.
- If feeling a post treat guilt trip creep in, do something particularly cleansing. Perhaps you will drink lemon water or drink a green smoothie or balance it with a salad. You may even try oil pulling or soak in a bath. Whatever it is to remind yourself that you are taking care of your body and nourishing yourself.
- Don’t get so hell-bent on your diet that you forget that food is just, well… Food! Let food enrich your life, not restrict your life. I adore whole, energizing foods that make me feel amazing and have healed me for years and every now and again a night at the carnival, a good dose of Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate (my favourite!), and a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie. I LOVE food, and it can be used to make our lives, well, come to life! But always remember that it’s not about restricting or guilt, it’s about experiencing it and having fun with it, all of it!
- This week; be present with your food and treat it as a gift. What you ate in the past is in the past! Let that go, move forward, enjoy your food, experience and implement these strategies to drop any guilt and replace it with self-love and the experience of learning what works for your body.