In our society we are taught that some foods are “bad foods.” Foods without nutritional content that hurt our bodies, etc. We are told:
- If we want to lose weight we must not eat these foods.
- If we want to be healthy we can not eat them.
- That if we are disciplined enough we will not eat them.
- Then that leads to if we are worthy enough we will not eat them.
What happens with judgements
Lots of judgements here. Wow! Well that way of thinking was just a trigger for me to want to over consume “bad foods.” I wanted to rebel against that type of thinking by saying to myself: “let me show you.” Who was I kidding? I was only hurting myself.
No more french fries???
But I have changed that behavior and so have my weight loss clients. I now find it incredible that I don’t want to eat Oreos or even McDonald’s french fries (used to be my FAVORITE). This does not mean that I will never eat them again. Because if I declared that, my old friend the Wild Child would have a field day and I would be hiding out in McDonald’s eating my double serving of super sized french fries. Yes I used to do that. Last time I ate the McDonald’s french fries was at a talk I gave back in November. I did not even finish them and threw them out. First time I ever threw away french fries, especially the ones from the Golden Arches. I continue to practice and evolve and will until the day I die.
How was I able to stop eating so much “bad foods?” I call those foods “Joy Foods.” Foods that we eat because they taste good and bring pure joy into our day. Foods that just tastes yummy but do not have any nutritional value to us. My clients and I were able to stop the binging on those JOY foods, by allowing ourselves to eat those JOY foods everyday. We eat small amounts of joy each day (10% of total food intake). We stop eating when the JOY food no longer tastes good. And trust me it’s not a whole box of Girl Scout cookies, or an entire half gallon of ice cream when we stop. We practice this skill. We practice letting go of what we tell ourselves that is not true. Our old conditioning triggers us to eat more and more of these foods when our bodies really don’t want anymore. Instead, we tune into our bodies and tune out what society tells us to do.
Years ago, I remember reading about Jackie O. She would have lunch at a fabulous restaurant in Manhattan, and order desert and only take one bite. Whether she was white knuckling it or just listening to her body, I will never know. One thing I did know back then was I thought she was crazy. How could you only have one bite of an amazing desert? Well that was my old voice of, “can’t waste food” and “I will never have this again, so I must over indulge.” “This is a one-time treat and tomorrow I will not do this anymore.” LIE, because I would overindulge another time, saying that of course “I would never be able to have that again.”
Now I totally understand eating only one bite of a JOY food. Why eat after it no longer tastes good? These days, I have eaten desert and forgotten to finish it. And some days, I don’t even want a joy eat. Really. And I continue to work on disbelieving the lies I tell myself. It is truly amazing and empowering. My clients email me in surprise that they only ate 2 girl scout cookies or threw out their french fries. Really could it be possible for these people who thought food controlled them? Yes and it is possible for you also.
The secret to joy eating is you must enjoy it. Don’t just eat your 10 percent without guilt or eat more than 10 % because you have labeled it a joy eat. Sit down with it and savor it.
A joy eat is something you eat because you enjoy it. It tastes really yummy and delicious. Yet, there’s not any nutritional value to it. Be mindful when you are eating it. It is something to taste and enjoy. What I have noticed is that when I eat a JOY food based on volume I am no longer present and afterwards I really don’t feel well. When I eat a JOY food while I am mindful I taste it, it is satisfying and I am done. No longer looking for the next thing.
I used to eat a cookie or french fry and worry about what I would eat next or how many were left while the food was in my mouth. I was worried about them being gone but was not even present with what I currently was eating. No wonder I was not satisfied.
Now I practice being mindful, really listen to my body and pay attention to how it tastes.
The next time you want a JOY eat. Sit down and savor it. Be present with it. Taste it. Once it stops tasting good Stop Eating.