Est 5 min read
Cake is my very favorite, I love cake. So, so much! Prior to intuitive eating, I would restrict food and I would do this for a lot of reasons:
For all of these reasons, I restricted food. Cake was always collateral damage. And, my love for cake really made this a struggle.
After doing a restrictive diet for a while, it would be my birthday or a special occasion, and I'd think, I'm going off of my diet and I'm going to eat all the things. I would get a cake and I would be so preoccupied with it. Typically, I couldn't pass the kitchen without going in and eating at least a few bites of it. I would eat a much larger slice than what actually would feel good to me and feel really bad. And then I would eat more. I would constantly think about it until I would either have to finish the whole cake or it would have to be taken out of the house. Basically I couldn't stop thinking about it until it was gone. Sometimes I would give it away because I'd think, I can't trust myself with this. I’d literally say to people, please don't leave that cake here, take it away from me.
That was so intense, sad, and frustrating because I loved cake. I couldn't imagine never eating cake again. I loved wedding cake. I loved birthday cake. I loved all the cakes. But I also felt guilty and shameful about wanting to eat cake and my enjoyment of it. I would be so preoccupied with it after restricting that I would eat it in a way that felt out of control. Which would reinforce the false idea that I couldn't trust myself.
Now, it's totally different. I found Intuitive Eating. I've done all of this work around my relationship with food and my relationship with my body and I no longer base my food choices on some external ‘should’, a checklist, or anything like that.
Now when I get cake, it is pleasant, joyful, either it's a gift, a surprise, or I buy it for myself because I wanted it and it felt like something that would bring me satisfaction. It is much more celebratory and I'm able to actually enjoy it. Now when I get cake, I don't always eat it right away. Typically I will wait to have it when I'm hungry or after I've eaten dinner and I want to have some dessert and can enjoy the moment. I really savor it, and I enjoy it. I don't feel any guilt or shame at all about eating cake. Occasionally, I still go over my fullness or satisfaction level by a few bites. But even then I don't feel guilt or shame. If I were to have two or three slices in a day, I wouldn't feel bad or guilty about that. I would feel curious about it. Was I overly hungry? Did I
enjoy it? Was I using it to soothe? If I did, then that's okay. But I’d look at what was going on underneath the surface that needs tending to. I would be really curious about that.
Typically, I enjoy an amount that feels really great to me. No matter what, I feel like I can trust myself. I'm free to enjoy the foods that bring me satisfaction, pleasure, and joy. I never again have to consider the idea of never having cake again. I know that I always have permission. I'll always have the freedom to enjoy cake again. Because of that freedom, that permission, that trust, I don't have that urgency or increased preoccupation about it. My decision to have cake is now based on body attunement and discernment, and what would feel good, nurturing, joyful, and satisfying for me at this point.
I wanted to talk about this because it really illustrates the difference between diet culture (controlling critical lens) and the power of Intuitive Eating (empowered nurturing lens). Cake is something that we use in our culture to celebrate but it's also something super demonized. And how we engage with it is the difference in showing up in a way from a more critical lens than a loving nurturing lens. Are you using an external locus of control or a list of shoulds to determine what, when, how, and why to eat something like cake? Or are you using internal sensations, body attunement, your own discernment, and empowered choice to decide what, when, how, why, and where to eat cake?
I hope this was interesting to hear about, I hope it gives you some hope.
If you are already on your intuitive eating journey, if you are someone who's stuck in restriction, or maybe you're in avoidance, and you're giving yourself permission to eat cake, but you're just eating it in a way that doesn't feel good to your body, I hope this gives you some insight into how intuitive eating and shifting from a ‘should’ to a choice and attunement can really change your relationship with food and your body and allow you to trust yourself to eat any food and to trust yourself to have any food in your house. It's possible to learn to trust yourself to enjoy food rather than trying to control or manage it or just avoid thinking about it altogether.
If you need support in that journey from ‘should’, criticism, shame, and feeling bad about food and your body to attunement, discernment, empowered choice, joy, and satisfaction, I can help you with that. You can reach out to me at Tiffany@CoachTiffanyRN.com. You can also take my online quiz to find out if you're more preoccupied, avoidant, or securely attached with food. I am having a group program that will be starting soon. And I do have a few private coaching spots open so reach out if you need support.
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The first step to healing your relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals your body gives you. 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..