Finding Food Freedom — the Mindset Shift You Need
The number 1 thing you need to realize when looking to conquer the fear of ending your dieting phase is to create freedom with food, and peace with your body.
Truth be told — we are fearful creatures. We fear failure, rejection, loneliness. Just to name a few.
Putting an end to dieting can trigger many fears. Whether it is due to a troubled relationship with food or fighting the cold war with your body. The idea of not following any rules can be scary.
You may feel that your body can’t be trusted, or that you have a sweet tooth that gets too out of hand making you feel as if you are addicted to sugar or even that your instincts only know how to guide you to the refrigerator. At heart, you feel as though everyone around you has a “normal eating” routine, but not for you.
And you may have many fears, as I had.
I don’t know what fears you struggle with, but I can share with you my biggest fear.
When I started to ponder about the thought of putting an end to dieting, I was really afraid of gaining weight. I promise I’ll be back to this topic in another post to tell you how this fear is deeply rooted in the fear of rejection (and why this must stop!). But for the purposes of this story, I want you to know that I was already gaining weight while dieting (at least trying to diet) even though I was following my many food rules, and swallowing my disgust with green juice.
If you didn’t already know this, here’s a little spoiler… diets don’t work.
Putting an end to my dieting years — and conquering my biggest fear
“You can’t stop eating.”
These words marked my turning point when I overcame my fear and decided to stop dieting and try to reconnect with my body.
I remember reading them in a support forum for people who were trying to stop macro counting (my case at that time) and “take the risk” and shift into intuitive eating.
It was early 2017 and I had just heard of this approach. At first, it seemed totally crazy to me…
I can eat what I want? How does this work, was my initial thought.
When I want to?
How will I trust the signs from my body?
Also what signs? I’m hungry all the time!
As a good chronic dieter who has tried all the diets in this galaxy, it took me a while to realize what intuitive eating entailed. Eating intuitively did not mean eating random foods, without criteria or limits, nor simply letting my body do the work alone.
Reading up on it and studying what intuitive and mindful eating was about it was critical to practice. I put these behaviors that I had learned into practice, all while respecting the time that I needed. I learned that I needed to be aware not only of the impact of food on my physical body but especially on my emotional body.
This new set of information allowed me to make even more accurate choices of what and how much to eat for my well-being.
Our body is its own feedback system.
What did I eat?
How did I feel, physically and emotionally?
How can I do better next time? Or do I want to do it again?
And so goes on this constant process.
This process was greatly facilitated when I started using the ate app. Keeping a food journal is crucial to understanding our eating patterns, but we do not always have a notebook on hand. On the other hand, I always had my phone, but it was hard to organize my meals with notes and even harder to analyze what I had eaten versus how I had felt easily.
Furthermore, any calorie-counting app would trigger my food obsessive behaviors, which were exactly what consumed my life and I wanted to get rid of. Yet, none of them tracked my emotions, which I discovered to be the key to improving my food choices and feeling better with my eating.
I did not learn all this in one day. Initially, I was afraid and it took me a while to get myself fully committed to the process, and that’s okay. But it all started with those words, from a girl who wrote something like this:
You can’t stop eating, so it’s okay to try something different. You can always go back. You can always go back to your detox diet, go back to counting calories, points, carbs, cut sugar, etc, etc, etc. You don’t have to be afraid because all of that will always be there for you.
But honestly? After experiencing the freedom to eat in peace and feel your body working with you, I doubt you will consider going back!
I am a Brazilian girl (living in Sao Paulo with my fiancé — and other 20 million people). I love coffee, books, and good food. I also really enjoy studying and learning new things that allow me to further develop myself both professionally and personally. I have a degree in Food Science and hold a Ph.D. in Agri-food Marketing. In addition, I am a Certified Nutrition Coach and an enthusiastic Nutrition student.
After 15 years of living in war with my body and with food, I found freedom through mindfulness and intuitive eating, practices that allowed me to overcome yo-yo dieting and binge eating.
I’m passionate about helping women rewrite their food and body histories so they feel free and confident to live their lives to the fullest.
There is a power that comes alive when women free themselves from the food prison in which they have learned to live, when they realize that they are capable and deserving of feeling fantastic in their own bodies, and that confidence is a state of mind — not a body lotion which you get the right to use when you reach a weight-loss goal.
My work is dedicated to nurturing, celebrating and sharing this message.