Here is what a dialogue in my head used to be,
- “Bagels, nope can’t have those”
- “Pizza, I don’t eat pizza”
- “Cake for my birthday, not if I want the scale to move”
- “Christmas cookies, not If I don’t want to gain weight like I do every winter”
Maybe you have thought these same things or have had similar thoughts. Or have you ever looked at a friend or co-worker eating these foods and thinking “she’s so lucky that she can eat those because I can’t”
I have literally sworn off 100’s of foods because “I cannot eat them”
It actually got to the point where I dreaded holidays & birthdays & dinners out with friends because I knew I couldn’t eat any of the food and it would be so hard being there when everyone else “could eat”.
What a miserable existence I was living in! Dreading birthdays?! dreading Christmas?! Basically the only way I could lose weight is if I became a shut in.
My old fearful existence popped into my head this morning when I got a text from my mom that said “How do I track what I ate yesterday?” (Disclaimer: she is doing weight watchers & yesterday was her birthday)
At first I cringed when I read her text because I put myself in her shoes and thought…..ugh that sucks so bad that it was her birthday in the middle of her having such a great week, I better tell her to track that and punish herself and be angry at herself, after all, she failed. Because that’s what I used to do and it’s always my first instinct. But the minute my head goes there, I have to make a conscious effort to say to myself , that’s just not true & that’s exactly what I wanted her to know. So I send her a text back that said, “On days like yesterday when all your friends and family came to celebrate you, you cannot let the scale ruin your party, but just pick up where you left off today”
When it comes to food, especially for people who struggle it’s always black or white and we never leave any room for failure. That’s why we all need to give ourselves permission to eat birthday cake or cookies or cupcakes or chips or chocolate and the list goes on and on. The moment you give yourself permission to eat all this, you may not want it as much as you used to; and if you do decide to have one piece of birthday cake, it isn’t going to do much damage.
So here is how I think of those above phrases now
- Bagels, yes I can have them.
- Pizza, I eat pizza.
- Cake for my birthday, I can’t wait for my birthday cake, after all it only comes once a year.
- Christmas cookies, making Christmas cookies with my grandma is a memory I will never forget.
I feel relief just typing this list. It’s ok to be normal, it’s ok not to be perfect, it’s ok to fail. When I finally started thinking like this, I started to succeed.
If you have ever had a list of foods you “cannot eat” I challenge you to remove those foods from that list. They don’t belong there and they never did. I actually feel like we should apologize to them for putting them there in the first place.