I’d like you to meet Reese, the chocolate peanut butter Easter Bunny.
I picked this delicious Easter treat up last weekend, and couldn’t believe how heavy it is – it’s actually solid! Anyway, I opened it a few days ago, had a few bites, resealed the wrapper and left it my office. The next night I had a piece in bed whilst I was reading, resealed it again. Tonight I had a piece whilst I watched TV with my husband.
I would never have been able to do this a few months or years ago. The chocolate is sitting there so it MUST be eaten NOW.
I had the snowman version of this at Christmas, and I opened it, I had some, it sat there – staring at me – so I ate some more. In the end I knew I couldn’t ‘control the urge’ so it went in the bin.
I am not sharing this story because I think I am better than you or anyone else, I am sharing it because at one time I could not eat a serving of candies, one piece of chocolate or make my favourite sweets last longer than a few hours. Yet now I sit here, a week later with half a peanut butter bunny left and I find it fascinating that over time I have created this mindset. With practice and zero guilt I am owning every choice I make about food.
At one time if I had taken a bite of chocolate, when I was dieting or being restrictive, I would have felt guilty, angry at myself for lacking willpower and plan to eat less tomorrow.
Tomorrow I would start again, and tomorrow I could do better, If I just tried a little harder…
All this craziness over one bite??
I have suffered from ‘food guilt’ for years, the feeling of guilt would wash over me as I tried to decide whether I should give up and eat it all or starve myself because it is the only way to achieve skinny. One bite.
Just this past week I said to myself before bed ‘tomorrow, no chocolate, no sugar…’ and it was like a second (much louder) voice said ‘woah what the hell are you doing?!?’ I don’t need to banish my daily chocolate fix to feel better, my emotions were getting the best of me and I was allowing myself to feel victimized by others. That’s another much longer blog 😉 You see how easy it to think removing a food or food group will solve our problems, and it’s because we have been taught this is the correct method. If it fails, then it’s not the method for you. If you have ever had these emotions then I am sure this story will resonate with you, you will know how it feels to continually fight with yourself from deprived to bloated and guilty. I share this story with you so that you can see that a balance is achievable that ‘everything in moderation’ isn’t just a well kept secret for the skinny or the French! It is real, I am living that life right now.
Here is my 3 part strategy for overcoming food guilt…
- Find something that you consider a ‘treat’ i.e. something that you would never normally have on a daily basis, but make sure it is not a complete trigger food. Okay, for me 90% dark chocolate is a delicious and simple way of feeling satisfied, sweets – I am talking sour jellies – they are a complete trigger food for me. I actually try to not even have them in the house, I could eat them for hours, the sugar makes me lose all control.
- Practice having a little bit every day, and leave it in plain sight. A good friend recently told me that ‘in sight and out of mind’ is the real struggle and I love this. If you struggle with eating just one piece of bread, you cannot hide bread for the rest of your life – a bread basket is going to appear at some point. So whichever food (or drink) you choose in step 1, keep it in plain sight, this may seem like torture but eventually you won’t even notice it, because it will always be there.
- Expect to eat more. Sure this sounds totally counterproductive, but if you expect that one day you might actually have more than 1 piece of chocolate, then when it happens it’s not such a shock. I share this from a place of knowledge, probably once a week I find myself reaching for that 3rd square of chocolate, but that’s okay. I am okay with my choice, I am practicing and it takes time.
Remember action trumps perfection.