Yesterday was nutritionist visit. Among the awfulness of having to totally expose yourself through food, I got some pretty cool insight about "legalizing foods". Now, I don't currently have *too* many food rules, but I found this FASCINATING.
Sarah would like to eat a few cookies, but feels that she should eat fruit instead because she is concerned about her nutrition and her weight. She eats the fruit, despite desiring the cookies. Even though Sarah likes fruit, she feels dissatisfied.
Nevertheless, for the next few weeks, Sarah chooses fruit over cookies for her snacks. After the initial few weeks, she breaks down and buys a bag of cookies. She eats the whole bag in two days. She vows never to allow cookies into her pantry again.
The next day she stocks her kitchen with fresh fruits. After several more weeks of fruit-only snacks, she finds fruit totally unsatisfying. She now only eats cookies for snacks. Sarah feels guilty about the cookies, but she doesn’t eat fruit again for a long while.In this scenario, although Sarah tries to eat more nutritiously, she ends up disliking nutritious eating. This is because she ‘forced’ herself to eat something she really didn’t want just then and to not eat the food she really wanted. Even though fruit is a nutritious food choice, it does not satisfy her. The result is less enjoyment of nutritious eating. Sarah now associates fruit with deprivation, instead of enjoyable, nutritious eating. In other words, Sarah feels that to eat nutritiously means she must give up cookies and other foods she loves. No wonder healthy eating isn’t thought to be fun!
--copyright NCES, Inc. Weight & Eating Management Handouts v.2, www.ncescatalogue.com, 2003
DUDE. I'm so Sarah. This totally blew my mind. I mean, who hasn't heard the whole, "You should be able to eat anything" schpiel. But when it's framed like this it makes SOOOOOOOO MUCH SENSE!!! You brain starts associating negative thoughts with healthy foods when you're forcing yourself to in them in place of something else. How am I totally fluent in this positive associate concept when I'm training my DOG and not when I'm training myself??!?!
The same handout continues:
It is important to pay attention to food cravings or desires and to eat food you want. If you give yourself permission to eat the cookies or other food you desire, over time they will become less important to you and you will eat less of them. Eventually, you will choose a great variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fresh dairy products often because you desire and enjoy them, not because you should.
I'm in this for the marathon (and then some, probably!) so I'm sooooo OK with this idea. I can't fix my brain just by eating apples and never eating a donut again. There's years and years of hard wiring about food in there that's gotta get re-run. So many lightbulbs yet to turn on!!
And today, perhaps from that first lightbulb, I feel really really good about things. AMazing.