You can trust your body this year. Why? Because you have natural systems in place that help to regulate how you eat. Don’t believe me? I know…it’s such a foreign idea these days that you don’t have to diet, or restrict, or calorie count. But if there’s one wish I have for you this year, it’s that you’ll learn that trusting your body is the healthiest resolution you can make!
I was thinking the other day, especially with it being the beginning of a new year where everyone seems to be wanting to change this, that, or the other about their diet, that we oftentimes grow up thinking dieting is normal. Along these lines, we’re programmed to believe that we can’t trust our bodies. The thought seems to be our body’s natural default is to continue to eat and eat and eat excessively.
This is not true, friend. Your body is not out to get you. Your body can be trusted. And trusting your body is one of the best things you can do for your health this year!
So here’s the myth:
Food is the enemy. Food can’t be trusted. You can’t be trusted around food. If left unrestricted, the default is to excessively eat.
Do you ever find yourself thinking these thoughts, believing that your body can’t be trusted?
Now that you know the myth, here’s the truth:
Food is not something you trust or don’t trust…it’s just food. You have natural systems in place physiologically to keep your body at a healthy, stable weight. If left unrestricted, the default is actually eating intuitively…i.e. eating when hungry, stopping when full, feeling at peace with food and your body.
So, maybe you still don’t believe me. You’re still hesitant because you know that if a gallon of ice cream is left in your freezer for even a day, it’ll be gone. You’re convinced that the ice cream is at fault because it can’t quit saying your name, but also you feel that you’re at fault because…”I should be more disciplined, come on!”
I want you to know, I understand. Yes, you may be feeling a little out of control around food and it’s our natural instinct to go into “all or nothing” mode when we feel at a loss of control. But there’s a few things that could be going on to cause you to feel like you can’t trust your body. So hear me out before you quickly dip out because you just don’t ever see yourself being able to trust yourself around food.
First off, if you feel like all you can think about is eating the ice cream in the freezer (or any other food for that matter), I want you to think about whether or not you consider those foods “restricted”. Do you allow yourself complete freedom to eat this food that calls your name? Or do you feel guilty for these thoughts, pushing away your cravings, and hoping that by restricting yourself you’ll lose interest?
Well, what happens when you push aside these cravings is that the cravings actually heighten to an amount that eventually causes extremism with eating. Restriction causes “all or nothing” thinking and once you find yourself “giving in” you easily end up over eating.
No wonder you feel like you can’t trust yourself around food! No wonder you feel like you can’t trust your body! Your blind eye to your cravings and having “off limits” foods actually does create an out of control cycle that’s bound to decrease trust!
But here’s the good news…you don’t have to live with this fear. There’s a way to both feel at ease with eating and trust your body all while enjoying ALL foods! It starts with TRUST!
Ok, now for the biology stuff as a last defense on convincing you that you can trust your body.
Your body has many, many regulators in place to help you to eat in a balanced way. There’s hormones and receptors that help you to eat enough, not eat too much, and eat a healthy balance of different foods. Two of the main regulators are ghrelin and leptin. It’s thanks to these two and other regulators that you have the ability to eat freely, that is without calorie counting or following restrictive diets. Ghrelin kicks in to promote eating. It’s our “primal” signal that we need energy in the form of food. Then, leptin comes along when you reach a satisfying fullness level to help you stop eating.
So maybe you’re asking, why is it so hard to stop eating sometimes?
With dieting and tuning out these natural signals, you’re going to have a harder time detecting them. You are going to be less able to notice hunger when it first comes around and maybe only find yourself eating when ravenous. Waiting until this point can elicit mindless eating and it can be easy to miss the signals that your body is satisfied, leading to over eating.
If this is you and you have a hard time noticing hunger and fullness, here’s a simple exercise you can do. First off, plan to eat something at least every 3-4 hours. Then, throughout the day, notice how your body feels. Be extra observant, noticing any change in how you feel as the hours pass after your meal. Eventually, these signals will become more noticeable and you’ll be more understanding of how you can take care of your body…and trust your body…through eating and noticing your signals of hunger and fullness.
I know this can be a lot to take in, but by trusting your body and learning to be observant, compassionate, and gracious, you’ll find such amazing peace! There’s no need to fear food, or distrust your body.