Saying “no” to deprivation is a daunting feeling for many women — so much so that when they do allow themselves to indulge they either have no idea how to actually enjoy it or go a little nuts and binge eat.
Here are some key ways to eliminate the guilt and truly enjoy an indulgence in a healthy, balanced and feminine way:
1. Practice intuitive eating.
This takes some practice, but it’s well worth it. The first step is finding the perfect diet for you. What foods work best for you and make you thrive? Once you've figured out which foods make you the best version of you, intuitive eating can take place. This takes practice, but gets easier with time, as all challenging things do.
2. Find your balance.
I'm a BIG believer in eating whole foods as close to their natural state and staying away from anything that is processed. Aside from that, each of us can thrive off completely different diets. The key here is not only to find what works for you, but to find a healthy, happy balance. Moderation is key.
3. Know that not every indulgence needs to include food.
Yes. I know. Crazy. But seriously! Many women tend to turn to food for every event in life. Had a good day at work? Great! That doesn't mean you need to celebrate with a piece of cake.
There are so many more fun and delicious ways you can indulge in your life. You may not need to celebrate with food, and instead you can feed your soul! Try a bubble bath, give yourself a manicure, get a massage, buy a new dress or go for a gorgeous nature walk with your best friend. Indulge, by all means, but keep your options open.
4. Chew, chew, chew.
Chewing your food properly (and when I say properly I mean until it's complete mush) is not only ideal for digestion, but is a fabulous way to tune into your body. It's so important for us to remember that we do not always need to be in such a rush.
Chewing your food properly helps you eat much more slowly. This creates the ability for your stomach to have adequate time to signal if and when you are truly full.
5. Take one deep, mindful breath.
This is simple and works like a charm. Not only should you do this before you are going to “indulge,” but it can and should be used before each meal. Before you eat, take a deep breath. Not only will this play a positive role in our tactic above (intuitive eating) but you'll feel a whole lot better about your choice if you do.
6. Find affirmations that work for you.
When many women indulge, they tend to start with the guilt before they've even swallowed. Have you done this? I used to say things like, “You’re not thin enough to be eating this right now,” or, “OMG, I am going to have to run 10 miles tomorrow to burn this off,” or how about, “Wow, I'm such a loser. I suck and have no control. I’m never going to reach my goals. I might as well give up.”
Sound familiar? It breaks my heart, but many women do this. That is why I would recommend a healthy, daily dose of affirmations. Start with saying an affirmation to yourself in the mirror every morning when you wake up and every evening before bed. You will feel silly at first, but this works and is well worth it.
7. Eat what you truly want.
Starting today, I want you to forget every “diet” you’ve ever been on. Instead, I want you to eat real, whole foods in moderate portions and only when you are truly hungry. Do you see how if you deprive yourself so drastically not only for weeks, but for months at a time you're going to not only binge, beat yourself up and enter a very vicious cycle of torture, but also be much more likely to eat an unhealthy version of the food you originally wanted?
Instead, eat what you want during your next craving and just remember to make sure it's homemade, real food and is consumed in moderation.