Friday, December 17, 2010

Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights (part 1)

Last weekend, I went to another Mindful Eating/Mindful Body class here in Denver.  I've written about them before, but this group was one of the first ways that I was introduced to the idea and concept of mindful/intuitive eating.

Due to the timing of the workshop, the topic of how to eat over the holidays came up.

Are there rules to what you'll "allow" yourself to eat?

Are there guilt trips that you put on yourself when you "eat the wrong thing?"

Lastly, when was the last time that you truly had whatever you wanted - and didn't beat yourself up or negotiate anything?

The kind of holiday celebration I want to enjoy is one where I am in tune with my body.  When I'm in tune with it, I'm able to eat what I truly am hungry for - even if it's carrots and green beans.  And I can pass up the items that I'm not craving - even if they're cookies that look delicious.

I find that when I act on my true cravings, I'm able to feel completely satisfied and fulfilled.

At the workshop last weekend, we were given a list of basic rights that *everyone* should be allowed  - called the Intuitive Eater's Holiday Bill of Rights - by Evelyn Tribole.

The first? 

You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

To me, that's a powerful right.

I think oftentimes, women get into this calorie discussion because it's an approved topic.  Kind of like the weather, or small talk about what you do for a living.  It's a universal topic that brings people together.

And isn't that silly?  Rather than truly savoring the treat that is in front of us, rather than giving thanks for all the hands that it took to get this meal to it scrumptious state, and rather than enjoying each ingredient, we waste those moments by feeling guilty or feeling dread for the amount of exercise that it will take to "be good again."

If you're like me, it feels great to have not a rule to follow, but a right to be allowed.

I don't have to join in the discussion of how "bad" I'm being or how "bad" the food is.  I can enjoy as much as I want of whatever I want - without having to feel bad, to be judged, or having to confess what I'm going to do to work off the choices I made.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

The trick is, in my opinion, is to be in tune with myself enough so that if I don't want parts of my meal, I don't eat it.

For instance, when I was a kid, I loved Alfredo sauce.  What's not to love?  It's creamy, buttery, and not marinara sauce (which, in general, I'm not a huge fan of).  But then I began my DIET which lasted 20 or so years and it was bye bye cream sauces!

Recently, I ordered some pasta dish with Alfredo sauce because it sounded totally scrumptious.  Know what?  It wasn't.  It didn't taste as great as I remembered - or maybe it was just too rich for what I wanted right then.

All I know is that a year ago, had I ordered it, I would've eaten it all up - after all, I ordered it and I might as well indulge when I could!  When was the next chance I would have the courage to order cream sauce?  This time, I didn't.  I ate the other items on my plate and scraped off as much of the sauce as I wanted to so that I enjoyed the meal.

Maybe I don't actually LIKE Alfredo sauce any more.  Maybe I just don't like pasta.  Whatever it is, I know that if I want to try any sauce again, I can.  I'll have another chance - so it's okay to pass up what I don't really want right now.  I can always have it when I *do* want it.

Eat the meal you want.  Eat what you truly want.  If that's carrots and celery sticks, great!  If it's a rich food, that's okay too...because if you're really tuning in to what your body needs and wants you won't always want the rich foods.  You won't always fill up on cookies. 

When you take away the label of "forbidden" on foods, it's amazing how much less I actually want them.

And it's freeing to realize that I can enjoy - truly enjoy - the food that I'm eating.  I can focus on that, on the gratitude that I have for all of the steps that it took to make it, and on how full I am at the moment.  I don't need to be judged by anyone else...OR by myself.

No matter what your eating plan is, you have the right to eat the way you want - all carbs, no carbs, no fat, all grapefruit.  Whatever your plan is, you have the right to enjoy your holiday however you want.  No excuses, no explaining, and no trying to convince others that it's the right way.

You have the right to eat the way you want to.

A liberating thought, no?


Karen said...

Yes! Great post. I have been intrigued with things I have read about intuitive eating. I just don't know if I am "ready" or can listen to my body that way without eating stuff my body would not ever be asking to be fed.

Allan said...

I have links if you want to people that intuitively know how to build caskets for people that follow the train of thought that nothing is to be denied. Awesome idea.

Happy Fun Pants said...

Awww...Allan! Now you're not invited to my Christmas dinner! :)

I think you're confusing the idea that you CAN have whatever your body actually wants with the idea that you eat EVERYTHING (and lots of it) of what you've been denying yourself.

Listening to your body isn't an excuse to binge.

It involves the choice to eat things that are good for you because you feel better when you're fueled by healthy choices.

Jams said...

I couldn't agree more. When we put labels on our food as "good" or "bad" then we can't help but judge ourselves for eating them. Food is food. Eat in moderation, savor the flavors..

I'm actually getting really excited about the holidays now..

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Wow, there's an Intuitive Eating workshop? That would be very interesting!

I took note of your comment about not eating parts of a meal that you don't want. On my flight over from Russia, there were fried potato slices on my plate. My initial reaction to them was "ick", imagining they didn't taste good and would make me feel queasy. I ate the rest of the meal, then decided to try one lttle piece of those potatoes, just to be sure I didn't want them. One little sliver was all I needed to confirm they tasted exactly how I imagined - blech! I used to scarf it all down, simply because it was there.

I'm all with you for enjoying some foods/meals without agonizing over how much we're gonna have to "pay" for it in calories or exercise.

I'm more interested these days in eating something of high quality...if I'm gonna have it, I want the best. It's become more of a letdown if something doesn't taste good (not worth eating) rather than what it is worth in calories.

I'd rather have a smidge of something that tastes heavenly (even a smidge can be satisfying) than a whole truckload of something that tastes "meh" or artificial.

Hope you are feeling okay!

Lanie Painie said...

Allan's not confused. Allan's and asshole.

TinaM said...

Great post.
The fact that you CAN have it again if you want, so you don't have to stuff yourself now... it seems so simple! But oddly enough, I think that's something a lot of us have to work on...
This is my first Christmas since trying to loose weight, and I really think this is great advise.

Lanie Painie: LMAO!