I have so been looking forward to having this conversation with you. Right now, in our monthly challenge within Weight Loss from the Soul, we are taking a break from our trigger foods in order to regain some perspective on how those foods affect our brains and bodies. The next step though can be even harder, especially for my sweet sisters who have been putting themselves in ultra restrictive diet prisons for several years or decades: how to plan and enjoy treats.
Today’s topic is so important. I don’t know about you, but the holidays are filled with a lot of my favorite food. Stuffing, pecan pie, iced Christmas cookies, and Halloween candy. I am going to teach you all about the power of permission when it comes to handling foods or beverages that traditionally might have thrown you over the edge.
Do you remember that verse in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 where Paul says, “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial”? I have always found this statement to be a balm for my soul, reminding me that I am fully loved and saved even if I am far from perfect. I used to have so much shame around my eating habits and that shame never helped me get thinner or helped me find healing around that addiction.
So, today, I am going to walk you through how giving yourself permission to enjoy treats can lend itself to healing in this area of your life.
First of all, let's talk about what our brains think whenever we are typically on some sort of restrictive diet. Our brain decides that certain food items, beverages, or categories are evil and shameful and must be avoided at all cost in order to be successful. Then we decide to have a “cheat meal” or “cheat day” or we simply take a bite of that off-limits item and suddenly we’re face-first in a hundred things we feel we shouldn’t be eating or drinking. Why? Well, we’ve already messed up, soiled the clean eating of the day. We might as well eat and drink it all because we can’t take it back and tomorrow we’ll be “good”.
Sound familiar? Yes, sweet sister. I know. That was me, too. Honestly, learning how to give myself permission to enjoy treats helped me break free from the pattern of binging and restricting. Eating is pleasurable and I still look forward to danishes and a cafe mocha from Starbucks. I want to encourage you to start planning enjoyable eating experiences. And, if that sounds scary, let me walk you through how to do it right so you don’t fall off that make-believe wagon.
I call this the 5-P process. It is very simple. And, if you are part of my membership, there is a page on this month’s PDF that walks you through this..
Choose the meal/situation and a food that you will enjoy. Avoid thoughts like “cheat meal” or “Cheat day”. You are not doing anything wrong. Also, don’t think of it as a “day-off.” This is a planned food item or meal. Not a day to go crazy.
Decide what the number or quantity will be for that food or drink and say out loud, “Okay, I am going to have ----- and enjoy it.” For example, yesterday I said, “Today I’m having three peanut butter cookies with a cup of coffee after school.”
It is important that you plate it at this point. If your treat is a beverage, pour it into a special glass or tell yourself it will only be this bottle, can, or cup. This will help you stick to your portion size and remind your brain that the experience is sanctioned and should be enjoyed. I put those 3 cookies on a plate and took it to the table away from the container of cookies.
Eat or drink in peace. Turn off the TV. Put your phone on silent. Try to have as little distractions as possible.
Slow down. Take small bites or sips. Savor the flavors and textures. Describe it in your brain. Often our need for more and more is driven by our lack of attention to the experience.
It really is that simple: Plan, portion, plate, peace, and pleasure. If you do this you will find so much more enjoyment in the experience and little to no thoughts of shame or fear. Those two things combined can give you the strength and power to stop yourself from falling into a binge or going off the deep end for a day or more.
I really struggle with perfectionism and I know that is the same for a lot of you. And, sometimes, I just have to look myself square in the face and say, “Don’t be a jerk, plan a treat.” I have to say that because it has been so deeply ingrained in us that certain ways of eating are bad. Planning enjoyable eating experiences will help you begin to heal. And, if you are worried about that food or beverage sabotaging your weight loss I want to offer a couple thoughts:
Remember, if you are interested in signing up for the membership, enrollment is open and you can join in on our October challenge. It’s only $5 per month. Just go to loraarmendariz.com/weightloss
Talk to you next week. Good bye for now.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.