If you've followed my journal, you know that we had a huge health saga that caused both my husband and me to dramatically change the way we eat. It has been interesting to navigate that genuine desire to be healthy and well, but also not to restrict in any way. The way we think about food is everything. If I feel restricted, restrained, or deprived, look out! That is still as miserable and treacherous as it ever was. What I've found though is that if I focus on taking great care of myself and feeling awesome, none of those old issues come up. I genuinely feel better, and I can still eat anything I want. Basically, I never tell myself what I can't do, or make any rules about how often I can eat something or how much I can have. So, I go along eating overwhelmingly plant-based, but without any kind of a label and with nothing actually off limits. It's been a super stark contrast to eating in a similar way but with a diet mindset. Because I can eat anything I want, I don't have that weird build-up that used to happen where I would romanticize certain foods, eagerly anticipate them, even plan my week around them. For example, years ago, my husband ate my special "cheat day" ice cream and I had a crying meltdown. That's when I knew I had lost my mind. Haha! Now, I would just shrug and eat something else, maybe buy more. What a concept. But when your diet mind gets all squirrelly about the circumstances in which you're "allowed" to eat certain foods, or when the stakes get raised to the point where food choices affect self-worth, uh-oh!
Using ice cream sandwiches as an example, I would continue to eat them whenever I wanted one. With that freedom in place, I can notice whether I actually want one right now, or maybe if I'd like something else even more. Then it never gets to be about eating it because it's allowed or not allowed, which is diet thinking. With diet thinking active, we want to eat several at once, or hide how many we're eating, or vow never to eat them again. Then it all goes sideways. But it's the mindset that's the problem. The ice cream is neutral.