Hello! How’s it going? I ran the PCRF Half Marathon today – recap coming soon. But first I wanted to talk about eating without guilt – giving yourself full permission to eat what you want and enjoy it. This is on my mind because I’ve been craving pizza and hadn’t had the chance to get it. I’ve had a lot of other food meal prepped and other days been too hungry to order it and wait. But last night I got an amazing fresh pizza with cheese stuffed crust and it was so good!
When I went to pick it up the calorie count was on the menu and I had a flashback of how obsessed I was with calories and food. I always wanted to know the calories and macros of everything I was eating in the past.
Well, I wanted to know until I was way too hungry to control myself and binged.
I thought about how for so long I’d be places with delicious food and not eat it because I didn’t want to eat high calorie or high fat foods. I was so worried about going out to eat and not knowing how many calories were in something. I’d bring my own food to parties or on trips or to a day at Disneyland – but it was only 400 calories worth and I was hungry and irritable.
I hated going to family events or parties with my bf at the time because I couldn’t eat anything there. Note: I ‘couldn’t eat anything’ there because I thought it was all going to ruin my diet.
If I couldn’t avoid a party I’d go and just not eat until I got home.
But when I got home I’d be so hungry and feel resentful at myself and my family and friends for putting myself in that situation… and I’d binge.
One year around Christmas time I went to a party at my friend’s new apartment. It was junior year and I was living with my family (I went to a school nearby and commuted). It was a holiday potluck and I made cornbread casserole – a recipe I got from my boyfriend’s mom. It’s so good and people love it so it’s still one of my go-to dishes.
At the time I was stuck in a dark place of being super self-conscious about my body, obsessing about diets, what I was eating and exercising. Every single hour of everyday I was completely aware of my body and what I had or hadn’t eaten that day. It seemed harmless though… I was overweight and had about 20 pounds to lose.
But, I didn’t know how to lose weight or get healthier in a long term healthy way.
How could I have? Diets were everywhere. If you wanted to lose weight you went on a diet.
Note that – if you wanted to lose weight… you went ON A DIET. That kind of implies you go OFF A DIET too, right?
At this point I had tried Atkins, Slim Fast, Cabbage Soup diet, South Beach… I’d lose a few pounds at first but then feel hungry or restricted and completely binge until I felt sick.
It was a pattern I’d continue for years. YEARS. (If you are stuck in this pattern – I’m throwing you a life-raft = get professional help now and/or talk to someone that can help you find a way out.)
…back to the party…
I didn’t really have fun. I was super worried that everyone thought I was fat. I figured no one would want to talk to me because I didn’t look pretty or fun. I was hungry but didn’t want to eat because that’d call more attention to how overweight I was and how I couldn’t stop eating…
So I tried to stand up straight and suck in my stomach all night. I didn’t drink – I was worried about calories and turned down offers for drinks. I didn’t eat even though I was hungry. I tried to talk to people and pretend like I was listening even though all I was thinking about was – 1. I’m hungry 2. I’m fat.
At the end of the night I thanked my friend and her roommates, grabbed my Cornbread Casserole pan – which had over half the leftovers in it and I headed out.
On the way home I was tired and all my will power and self control for the week had been used up that night.
As I drove down the 405 freeway that night I dug my hand into the casserole and just start eating it. Yeah, I was full on shoving it in with my bare hands going down the freeway.
I knew that’d be embarrassing if someone saw me, but it was dark and I was hungry. I ate all the leftovers from the casserole on the way home and then proceeded to eat a ton of other food when I got home. I don’t even remember what – probably cereal and ice cream and PB&J and whatever else. This wasn’t my rock bottom – not even close.
I didn’t really have fun at the party. I was hungry and uncomfortable and self-conscious.
And when I finally let myself eat – I didn’t enjoy it. I was eating in a rush, in secret, in shame and without giving myself permission to eat and enjoy it. What the hell? That sucks. I still ate a ton of calories – but the way I ate them was shitty and sad.
Scenes similar to this happened fairly often – I was hungry but didn’t let myself eat and then binged. I didn’t lose weight. Heck, I was gaining weight even though I was always ‘dieting’.
And last night I thought about all of that as I ate FRESH HOT PIZZA and enjoyed every bite. It was so good.
Yeah, today I kinda want more pizza because it was amazing… but I don’t feel restricted or guilty about eating or not eating something.
Most of the time after satisfying a craving I’m good for a while. I’ll stop and get donuts when I want them. When I was first trying intuitive eating I felt guilty or worried when I’d eat ‘bad’ foods. It was a long process.
But when you learn to listen to your body – what you want to eat, when you’re eating too much, when you are just looking for caffeine or sugar, when you need fuel… and take care of yourself it feels so good.
So if you are struggling with restricting or eating in secret or binging or whatever… stop, take a breath and listen to your body and be kind to it.
Eat pizza when it’s fresh and hot!