I’m back today with another reader question from reader Jenna! Feel free to submit questions via email (immaEATthat@gmail.com) or Instagram DMs.
A decrease in craving intensity is a side effect many experience when they give themselves permission to eat all foods at all times of the day. This happens because when we (mentally or physically) restrict certain foods it strengthens the reward pathway for that food making us desire it even more. Allowing yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods begins the process of rewiring that reward pathway (aka allowing your cravings to decrease in intensity). However, cravings getting less intense doesn’t mean that now you should stop eating certain foods. The question to ask yourself is, “what food is supportive to me right now?”
The first time I ate ice cream when I wasn’t craving it was a bit of a disorienting experience. We’ve been taught it’s to be reserved for special occasions and dessert, but ice cream makes a wonderful snack, as do a bunch of other snacks. Having ice cream regularly and consistently (i.e. daily) can allow you to eat it in a way that feels pleasant to your body. Since the spirit of our age is food fear and guilt around food, some people have never had a society deemed “bad” food without overeating it. Just the mere thought of “I shouldn’t have this food” leads many to overeating or feeling bingey. However, repeated exposure to the foods we are used to overeating or feeling bingey around allows us to being to interact with them in a way that is supportive to our health and well-being (aka we don’t have to eat an amount of them in one sitting that is uncomfortable to our body).
A step towards interacting with food peacefully is seeking food neutrality (aka not having good or bad foods). When I say food neutrality it means we’re able to take a look at what food is and how is makes our physical body feel, rather than focusing on any preconceived notions that our diet/weight loss/body manipulation crazed culture has instilled in us around a certain food being good or bad. A client told me last week that she’s having to learn what is true about food for her. Meaning, that we’re bombarded with messages that sugar, carbs and fat are bad for us, but if that is true, then why do I and my clients feel physically well after we eat carbs? (Mentally it may not feel so good.) While the mental turmoil around eating certain foods may still be present, instead of defaulting to the engrained and practiced thought of this food good/bad, you have to be intentional about asking your brain to utilize the below:
Food is = protein, carbs, fat, dairy, or fiber
How food makes your physical body feel is = satisfied, unsatisfied, full, empty, gassy, energized, sluggish, etc.
So, is it okay to have carbs and fat* everyday? Yes.
*i.e. ice cream
Questions for you: have you found you miss the intense daily cravings that restriction from certain foods used to bring you? Why or why not? Have you considered the question, “what food is supportive to me right now” when choosing a food/meal?