'Stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to instense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings & often binging [...] and overwhelming guilt.'
ET & ER emphasise the psychological effects of hunger:
- 'hungry orphans adopted from poor countrues often cannot control their compulsion to smuggle and hide food, even long after actual deprivation is over'
- In an experiment in which WWII GIs were put on a restricted diet, the GIs developed a primal obsession with food, as a result of the diet.
Anyone else recognise this? I know I do!
The only way to escape this hell, is to give yourself unconditional permission to eat by:
- Rejecting the idea that some foods are good and others are bad.
- Eating what you really want.
- Eating without doing penance (e.g. over-exercising or forgoing something else later.
ER & ET acknowledge that there are many fears that prevent people from taking this huge step, but these fears need to be faced. They include:
- The fear that you'll never stop eating. Actually, the opposite will be true once you've truly made peace with food. Habituation studies have shown that the more a person is exposed to a food, the less appealing it will become. But to get to this 'noncraving' point, you have to go through the scary process of actually eating the things you want as much as you want.
- The fear that you won't eat healthily. ET and ER acknowledge that nutrition should become a factor evetually. But before you can take a psychologically healthy approach to nutrition, you need to make peace with food by eating whatever you want, without judgement or guilt.
- Pay attention to the foods that appeal to you and make a list.
- Put a tick by the foods you actually eat, and circle the remaining foods.
- Give yourself permission to eat one forbidden food, then go and eat it.
- While eating, check in with yourself: does the food taste as good as you imagined?
- If you find you do like it, then continue to eat it when you wish. (You may need to keep the food in the house, so you know you can have it whenever you want.)
- Continue with the list until all foods have been tried.
- Krispy Creams (can you believe I've never tried one!)
- Cakes (especially cheese cake), brownies etc
- Granola cereal
- Real ice cream
- Any kind of cream!
- Full-fat salad dressings
- Creamy pasta dishes (generally only something I crave in restuarants)
- Meaty pasta dishes (see above)
- Mashed potatoes
- Cookies (non-diet ones)
- Curries (or anything involving coconut milk)
- Shop-bought sandwishes with a calorie value of over approx. 300cals (absurd, I know!)
Question: what foods would be on your list? Have you started reintroducing them? How have you found it?