It’s Wednesday, so I thought it’d be fun to start a little series called “What Would a Health Coach Do?”. Wednesday starts with ‘W’ and what starts with ‘W’…so I went with it. 😉 I’d love to answer a reader question every Wednesday…so please comment below with a question you’d like to see answered! So to kick it off, I’m going to tackle a doozey of a topic…
SWEETS!! (insert dramatic music here)
We all know that desserts or sweets of any kind can be a slippery slope. What started off as “maybe just one bite of the cake?” can quickly turn into “what happened to the cake?”. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! There is a way to live happily ever after that doesn’t involve never eating them again and also doesn’t involve eating the entire CostCo size portion of it either. This is something I work on with my clients because it is so important in creating freedom around food! And yes, you read that correctly – I am proposing that you can live in harmony with your favorite treats without gaining weight, binging on them or completely depriving yourself of them. Actually, I find that it’s when we put certain foods on a “food pedestal” that these crazy-town behaviors arise.
So what would a Health Coach do? ..Surely as a Health Coach I never eat “unhealthy” things, right? HA! If you asked my husband that question, he may paint you a starkly different picture. 😉 So would I always opt to eat the sweet treat? The answer is….maybe. I know, I know…that’s not what you wanted to hear. But hear me out – over the last year and a half of working on my own food issues and learning and practicing Intuitive Eating principles, I’ve uncovered a few things especially surrounding sweets that led me to that ‘maybe’ answer.
When you deprive yourself of sweets (or any food) or categorize them as “bad” or “off limits”, you are giving the food the power and setting yourself up for a disaster in the form of a entire sheet cake or sleeve of cookies. It’s all about understanding your cravings and being able to ask yourself if you really want the treat or if there is an underlying emotional craving that is driving that food craving. Once you get to that point, it’s then about honoring that true craving (through other non-food means or the food, depending on the situation) and then giving yourself PERMISSION to eat that food freely – freely meaning with no guilt, shame or judgment attached to that choice or the food. If I decide I really want the food, I put it on a plate, sit down with it without distractions and mindfully eat it – smell it, taste it, savor it, enjoy it.
Food is not “good” or “bad” and eating any food does not make ME “good” or “bad”. Food is fuel, food is nourishment and food is enjoyment. That is all. It’s when we start categorizing food as “good” or “bad” that we get into the dangerous territory of tying how we think we should feel for craving it or wanting it to our success or worthiness as a person. When you strip away the titles of “good” and “bad”, you allow the food to just be a food. When it’s just food, it’s never “off limits”. When it’s never off limits, the “power” the food held dissipates and you may find that eating a normal portion size when you truly crave it becomes easier and easier because, guess what? You can have that food whenever you truly crave it. No food rules = no judgement = freedom around food! And that, my friends, is why I say maybe. It depends on how badly I want it, if it’s a true craving and if it’s “worth it” to me in that moment.
This learning curve can be a tough one, especially if you have habits of using food emotionally. It’s tricky and takes so much time and patience – if you feel like you need help in this area, I’d love to help you out.
I’m curious, what’s YOUR take on sweets? Do you feel it has to be an “all or nothing” relationship?
POST BELOW questions you’d like to see answered in future “What Would a Health Coach Do” posts. I’m super interested with what you’ll come up with! 🙂