You probably figured this out from my Instagram, but I prefer things to be pretty orderly. I'm an ENFJ which for works out well for me for the most part, but I can be idealistic when it comes to well, everything, and it sometimes comes back to bite me - especially when it comes to eating. For a long time, I struggled with this idea of "perfect" eating, and I figured a day was ruined if I had a bite of cake or cookies or whatever I'd deemed to be bad. Once the day was ruined, I'd eat and eat and eat without paying attention to how I felt, because there's just no coming back from ruined. I would start fresh with a blank slate the next day, eating perfectly from dawn to dusk.
There wasn't really a moment that it all clicked for me and then I magically started eating whatever I wanted. It was a gradual build from pressure to look a certain way for my wedding and anxiety from not being able to exercise after being in a car accident. Thankfully, I discovered the book Intuitive Eating at just the right time.
GET RID OF THE TYPE-A TOOLS
Getting rid of all the tools I was using to enable my restrictive eating was the biggest game-changer for me. The first thing I parted with was a set of color-coded portion sized food containers. They were annoying, hard to clean, and there were too many anyway. The next things to go were My Fitness Pal, my scale, and several of my fitness/health pins on my Pinterest.
LEAN INTO THE GRAY AREAS
I love clean-cut scenarios that have an easy answer - which is not at all how intuitive eating works. This is a time to dig into those gray areas - to lean in and embrace them. Your day isn't "ruined" if you eat a certain way for breakfast, and you're not obligated to continue to to choose the same foods for the rest of the day. I like to think of myself as a blank white board before each meal, and as I eat the white board fills up with a description of how my food is serving me - providing energy, nourishing my soul, and satisfying a craving. Then, once I eat, as my body digests the white board slowly wipes itself clean and I start again with my next meal or snack.
ACKNOWLEDGE HOW FOOD SERVES YOU
Pretty much all of diet culture operates on the idea that you can only eat food that affects your body in certain ways. This mindset completely disregards all the ways that food can benefit you, including how it can benefit you by providing comfort and indulgence. In the words of Robyn Nohling, "We need the cake to balance out the kale as much as we need the kale to balance out the cake."
EMBRACE BEING HUMAN
I used to think that any and all food that made me bloat, gassy, etc. was something I shouldn't eat ever again. But honestly, this is just what it's like to be human. Even foods like salad and chickpeas and fruit can make you a gassy, because your body just needs to do its thang and work through all the fiber. So, if you're having digestive problems on a consistent basis (read - multiple times per week) or having to constantly manage your stomach with medications, it may be time to see a doctor. But if you just have a little indigestion after eating, it may be time to admit your humanity. Need more info? Chick out this post by Kylie Mitchell of Imma Eat That.