“Im either doing the Whole 30 or the whole opposite”, “I’m either eating perfectly, or eating everything”, “I eat really well and then fall off the wagon and eat everything in sight, then I feel like shit”. These are actual quotes I’ve heard from my clients and women in my life. I hear about this cycle from almost every woman I know. I hear it almost daily. I lived it myself.
I believe the biggest problem with cycle of eating perfectly and then eating everything (AKA all of nothing eating) is the guilt and shame that comes with it. Shame actually contributes to all or nothing eating. Its it part of the cycle. After we beat ourselves up, we feel terrible so we eat even more, or restrict more and fall “off the wagon” even harder. Eating perfectly is not sustainable. Period. And eating everything doesn’t feel good. In addition to the shame, we physically aren’t getting the nourishment we need to support our bodies.
The new radical…..
I had a client describe an "Aha! Moment" to me recently. She said in the past she always thought she had to do something radical, AKA an extreme or restrictive eating plan. She would do it perfectly for a while and then “fall off the wagon”. When she fell off the wagon, she wouldn't drink water, she would stop working out, stop taking her supplements. While she did eat perfectly for periods of time, it just didn’t work long term. She realized that she needed to do something totally different than she ever has in the past; Now she is listening to her body, making small sustainable, loving changes. She is building habits that work for her and support her body. She works out, even when she eats chips and salsa for dinner. She is working from a place of love, not fear.
This work of listening to yourself, looking at root causes, doing something completely different, and loving yourself truly is radical.
No more all or nothing! Be radical.
All or nothing thinking is present in many areas of our lives but not at the same level as it is for many of us with food. If we were late to work one day, we wouldn’t just say, oh well, since I’m late, I might as well skip the whole day, or better yet, quit all together! Yet, isn’t that how we often look at eating healthy? If we can’t do it perfectly, we give up entirely. Isn’t nourishing ourselves even more important than a job or other outside commitment?
It is time DO something AND be flexible. Eat lots and lots of veggies AND the wedding cake. Work out, even if you had chips for dinner last night.
Remove the judgement and shame, replace it with love.
Eating perfectly doesn’t leave space for our humanness. It doesn’t acknowledge the beauty of celebrating including enjoying delicious food or the reality of our imperfectness. It forgets that we fail to plan sometimes. It fails us.
Eating everything doesn’t support our bodies, our lives, our vitality. It simply doesn’t truly nourish us. It leaves us feeling like we failed ourselves.
I hope this post inspires you to let go of the idea of eating perfectly, let go of the judgement and simply start to nourish yourself. Eat real food, and enjoy it. Start listening to your body. Be radical, nourish and LOVE yourself no matter what.
Download your free hunger scale now!
The first step to healing our relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals our body gives us. One of the ways to do that is by checking in with your hunger before you eat. Here's my spin on the traditional hunger scale.