I have always heard restriction is bad for you because it only makes you want to binge more. I started following an account on Instagram called “No Food Rules.” The account has a 30 day program that focuses on building a better relationship with food and your body. The plan focuses on overcoming the things we have already internalized about food that aren’t really healthy. I am planning on taking the course some day in an effort to really better myself and go all in with this journey.
The “No Food Rules” program is broken up into several sections designed to be taken over the course of a month. It starts by teaching you to regain trust with your body. Next, it moves to understanding hunger and fullness. Then it moves to overcoming emotional eating. Next you learn to love your body. Finally you learn the basics of simple nutrition.
Stumbling across the “No Food Rules” program inspired me to do some research and I came across Mindful and Intuitive eating. Although similar sounding, they are a little bit different. Mindful eating focuses on paying attention to every part in the process of eating. Intuitive eating focuses on allowing yourself to eat what you want but paying attention to why you are eating it. Both can be used as a method of developing a healthy relationship with food and your body.
Mindful eating focuses on slowing down and using all of your senses to experience your food. Look at how beautiful your food is. Experience the texture of your food. Is it crunchy, creamy, crisp? Does the crunch make a noise? How does the food smell? Finally, how does the food taste? Is it salty, sweet, spicy, or sour? Is there an umami flavor?
With mindful eating you should take the time to savor each bite. Set your utensils down as you thoughtfully chew the food. One source I found even suggested turning off the TV and putting down devices and eating in silence to really focus on the act of eating. Focus on how the food makes you feel and stop eating when you are full.
Mindful eating has many benefits. One of those benefits is that you reduce the frequency and severity of binge eating. When you slow down to focus on eating you make the act of eating intentional. You focus on why you are eating, and you really focus on eating only when you are hungry and only until you are full. This cuts down on emotional eating and eating because of cravings.
Intuitive eating encourages you to focus on eating when you are hungry and only eating until you are full. It doesn’t require you to eat a specific type of food. It is important when you are hungry to eat. If you don’t eat, the hunger will get out of hand and you are more likely to binge eat. Try rating your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 before you eat and while you are eating.
While eating it is important to feel pleasure from eating. This means you don’t need restrictions about what you can and can’t eat. The more pleasure you feel from eating, the more likely you are to feel like you have had enough when you are full. Focus on eating to make yourself healthy. If you do end up binging, it’s important to focus on the progress you are making instead of having a perfect record.
A lot of my issues come from eating well all week and avoiding any sort of craving at all. I have found when I allow myself to indulge in cravings as I have them, I am less likely to break down and binge eat. If I want to eat a sweet I should eat it, if I want some wine I should drink it. This doesn’t mean I should eat and not stop until I feel sick, but I should allow myself to indulge in the craving when I have it so it doesn’t grow into something more.