Many people who struggle with eating disorders, yo yo dieting, and body image concerns also have a (usually fairly long) list of foods they feel they can’t eat without negative effects on their body. So, what does this mean for us when we are trying to improve our relationships with food? Does it mean we have to continue to avoid all these foods? Not necessarily. Does it mean that we eat them all again with total abandon? Again, not necessarily. Like so many things about this food journey, it really depends.
Firstly, of course it depends on how our bodies respond to these foods. Allergic reactions, celiac diagnosis etc. are likely going to mean not reintroducing that specific triggering food. Outside of that, allowing ourselves all foods is an important part of beginning our intuitive eating journey. So, what do we do if we have been practicing intuitive eating for a while and are noticing we truly have foods that don’t make us feel our best when we eat them?
Eating is intuitively is about listening to our bodies at heart. When we are truly doing this it can be challenging because our eating becomes such a nuanced thing. We may find a food makes us feel bad enough we do not even have the desire to eat it. We may also find that many of the foods we have banned due to how they affect us don’t actually need to be completely off limits.
We may learn for example, that one small serving of dairy doesn’t bother us but eating dairy for every meal or every day for a week does really start to have an impact on our body. The good news is, once we have this knowledge, we can choose how we apply it. Really wanting that piece of cheese and ok with a possible tummy ache later? Go ahead and enjoy! Wanting cheese but know you will be nodding off during your afternoon meeting if you eat it? May not be the time to choose to eat it. Eating intuitively is all about nuance and this is especially true when it comes to our reactions to foods. Adding food intolerances to the process of developing peace with food adds another layer of challenge, but is absolutely doable.
Questions about food and body issues? Feel free to get in touch!