A few years ago, a typical conversation in my head went something like this:
"OMG, look at that brownie. It looks so yummy. Gosh, I really want one right now ... No! I'm going to be good! I simply can't have one ... But I've had such a crap day, I'm so tired and I really need something to pick me up and to make me feel good. Ahh, whatever, I'll just have this one, who cares anyway?"
But when I gave into my cravings, the one piece or bite I'd promised myself never stayed at just one. I was struggling with food addiction and an eating disorder, and that small pick-me-up often snowballed into much more.
For someone who struggles with overeating, binge eating, restrictive or emotional eating, sweet foods can be a very frightening thing. For some, it's the potential weight gain that they fear, for others it's the anticipated binge that follows afterward.
Since healing my relationship with food and professionally helping women who struggle with those behaviors, I've realized that abstaining and constantly saying "no" to certain foods is exhausting.
When you tell yourself to stay away from a particular food, your focus immediately moves to what you can't do rather than what you can do. It's a never-ending battle that usually leaves us feeling so drained and overwhelmed that we give in. Giving in, no matter the repercussions, often seems like the easier option when anger and exhaustion are the alternatives.
In order to break the cycle of abusive eating behaviors we implement within ourselves and to heal our relationship with food, weight and our bodies for good, we need to transform the relationship we have with ourselves.
The question isn't what we're saying "no" to (sugar, fat, binging, etc.), but what we're saying "yes" to. Instead of fighting against, why not choose to stand for something?
What do you want to stand for in terms of your relationship with food, your body and yourself? Do you want to use food to torture yourself or to nurture?
The way you choose to answer these questions will be guiding principles and your lifelines when you find yourself at a crossroads, torn between choosing the same old path or taking a step in a new direction when it comes to food and how you eat.
It's only by learning to embrace all of who we are — including our struggles and imperfections — and accepting our bodies for what they are, that we can find a healthy way to let go of our unwanted food behaviors and excess weight for good.
Instead of dismissing or fighting a sweet tooth, embrace your cravings in a smarter way. When I really started to think about what I was putting in my body and what that body was telling me it wanted, I discovered a world of good-for-you desserts that were healthy AND satisfied my tastebuds.
Instead of worrying about calories, fat content, weight gain and binges, I learned to enjoy flavors, textures and nutrients. Most importantly, I reveled in the knowledge that even though it tasted like brownie, I was also putting goodness into my body, nourishing from the inside out.
And really, this is what healing your relationship with food is all about: Using food to nurture yourself instead of torture.