There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.” ~Mark Twain

One of the scariest parts of stopping dieting is the fear of losing control. Clients almost always fear this week when I start asking them to include foods that don’t feel safe to them. It’s the fear if they give themselves permission to eat those food they can’t and won’t stop!

The good news is, I can assure you too, it’s more about the fear of what may happen rather than the reality of what will actually happen.

Yes, if you love Oreos you will eat too many Oreos the first time you sit down at the table and give yourself permission to eat as many as you want. However, if you give yourself permission to eat those Oreos again and again everyday, they will start to lose their luster.

I once had a client we will call Jane. She loved skittles. Everytime Jane got home from a stressful day at work she sat down on the coach, watched television and ate skittles. In her words, she ate too many skittles. She usually polished off the box with no issues. She felt like she couldn’t stop eating them when she was full, rather it was when the box was done. Jane felt out of control with them and wanted me to tell her to stop eating skittles. While that may feel like the easy solution, it didn’t get to the root of the issues.

Restricting foods that feel unsafe to you is the easy way out. It’s unrealistic for Jane to never eat skittles again. Skittles are a food she loves and eliminating them from her diet will only be temporary. When she eats them again some day, because she will it, won’t go well. Guilt and Shame will return.

Can can see how this would interfere with your having a positive relationship with food and eating?

To piggy back on yesterday, giving yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods.

Are you ready for this challenge?

It’s not an easy challenge this week. It will put you out of your comfort zone for sure.

Go Get Them

Decide what food you are ready to challenge your negative thoughts about. It’s likely that food isn’t in your pantry right now so go buy the food that you don’t feel safe or in control with. Buy enough that you won’t feel restricted and will last you a few days. For example, if it’s Oreos, buy a whole package or two.

Sit Down with No Distractions

Take the food to the table with no distractions. This means putting your phone on silent, turning off the television and no reading. If your children aren’t a negative distraction you are welcome to invite them to the table. It’s important to be focus solely on your eating. In order to feel full and satisfied by a food you have to taste it. Distracting yourself will not give the same experience.

Give Yourself Permission

“It’s okay to eat this food, it will help nourish my body”

Keep reminding yourself as negative thoughts come up.

Enjoy the Foods

Take a bite, taste it. How does it feel in your mouth? Is it crunchy, smooth, sweet?

Does it taste good? If yes, then keep eating it. If no, then stop. Then keep eating it until they stop tasting as good as at the first bite. This can be confusing, in your mind you think it always taste good, right?

I use this example with all my of my clients. Hersey Kisses, they always taste good, but eventually they lose their luster. So will the food your eating. Yes, your body does have stopping point.

Write about it

Take a few minutes to tell me (or yourself) what came up for you in this process. What thoughts did this bring on? Were there negative thoughts around the food? Did you have flashbacks to be shamed for eating this food? Did you have flashbacks about the joy with eating this food?

I can remember eating M&M’s at my grandmothers house. My sister and I would devour the bowl everytime we entered the house. It brought us joy and I still have positive thoughts about it when I see M&M’s. However, somewhere along the way I got the notion that candy was bad for me and gave up eating them. The longer I restricted them the less joy I could see in eating them.

See what comes up for you around the food that seems the most unsafe.

Lastly, do it again another day. That could mean doing it again late today, tomorrow or the next day. Give yourself unconditional permission to enjoy eating.