HOW TO LET GO OF YOUR FOOD FEARS & LOVE YOUR BODY

Do you feel exhausted trying to keep up with the latest food trends? You are so much more than what you eat. Here’s how you can learn to release those food rules, so you can get back to loving, connecting and trusting in yourself.


BY: KELLY TOMITA, MS, RDN

We are surrounded by a world that tells us what is good and bad for us, and what we should and should not do. 

That’s why it’s normal if you’ve established food rules that create a sense of fear around your eating experience and choices.

But what if I told you that there’s a way to release those outside pressures around food and body? What if you no longer need to look to external validation to direct your food choices and tell you what you should look and act like? If you’re feeling stuck, going through the motions, without a clear idea of why you are doing the things you are doing… you are not alone.

I invite you to stop searching and look within to uncover your internal intuition. That’s when you will stop filling the void with false promises of dieting, and start feeling a sense of true belonging. You’ll learn to love, reclaim connection with your body, and establish unconditional trust in yourself.

Most of all, you will be guided back home to your authentic self. Here’s how you can start your journey back to you.

LEARN TO LOVE

Shifting towards a more loving, compassionate and self-caring mindset is essential if you want to reconnect and trust yourself. First, you must start to cultivate more awareness around negative or destructive thoughts, and then reframe them from a more loving and compassionate lens. Here’s how to start:

1. Recognize your thoughts– Practice simply noticing negative thoughts, without judgement. When these thoughts may arise identify any feelings that come up.

2. Name the feelings– Once you are able to notice this feeling, name it! Write it down, say it aloud or to yourself, tell a family member or friend—this can help reduce the power it has over you and provide a sense of release.

3. Sit with it—Allow yourself time to sit with the feeling. Take a pause, and give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Ask yourself… “Why might I be feeling this way?” “What were the events leading up to this moment that may have influenced how I am feeling?” Choose curiosity rather than criticism.

4. Positive reframe—Now you can reframe your original thought with a positive, self-caring perspective. For example: “I shouldn’t be hungry, I just ate lunch 2 hours ago,” can be reframed as….

“My body is telling me it still needs food. I want to honor that hunger and nourish my body with something that will have more staying power for me.”

RECLAIM CONNECTION

You are the expert of your own experience. By tuning back into your internal needs and sensations, you will begin to develop the skills to reclaim connection with your body and yourself. It starts by:

1.  Make peace with food.

This means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat all types and amounts of food whenever it feels best for you. There are no good or bad foods. When you reject restrictive rules around food and begin to release control, you will be closer to truly trusting in your body to tell you what it needs.

This crucial step will give you back the power to choose what foods you want to eat, decide what will bring you the most satisfaction in your eating experience and reconnect you back to your body and its physical needs. Rather than looking to external voices to tell you what you should eat, you will be able to tune into your mind and body to know what is best for you.

2. Practice interoceptive awareness.

Interoceptive awareness is defined as the ability to detect or perceive internal bodily cues. Interoceptive awareness can be as simple as feeling the urge to use the restroom and then responding to that feeling. Most of us know when we have a full bladder, however, we may have lost the ability to notice and respond to other physical sensations like feelings of hunger and fullness. 

It starts by tuning into your personal hunger cues by making a list of the physical sensations that arise in your body when you are hungry. Writing your individual physical cues down will help you to become more aware of signs of hunger and will in turn help you better identify in the moment that you are hungry. Hunger feels different for everyone, some examples include: stomach grumbling, lightheadedness, inability to concentrate, or irritability.

Another way to practice interoceptive awareness, is to notice your hunger and satiety levels before and after eating and rate them on a scale from 0 to 10 (0= completely empty, 5= neutral, 10= uncomfortably full). Notice the difference between subtle feelings of hunger and extreme, ravenous hunger. Make note of any trends or patterns that may show up for you. There is no right or wrong answer here, the goal is to bring awareness to your individual body’s sensations.

TRUST IN YOU

When you cultivate more awareness in your thoughts and emotions, you learn to tune back into your physical sensations and redevelop trust in yourself. 

Though these skills will take perseverance and practice to cultivate, once you establish trust, it will help you release the control of food rules and create space to be your true, authentic self. Here are a few ways to help reinforce your self-trust.

1. Establish and Enforce Boundaries

Establishing boundaries for yourself is a crucial part of caring for yourself. To do this you will need to identify your needs, communicate those needs with others and speak out when those needs aren’t met. Setting boundaries is the first step, but continuing to enforce them will be a continued practice.

2. Cultivate self-love & acceptance

Identifying what you value and respect in yourself will cultivate a sense of worthiness and love within you.  It starts by focusing on the parts of yourself that you value and appreciate that have nothing to do with your physical body or appearance.

Here is a practice to help you begin to cultivate a sense of love and acceptance for the person you are, here and now:

  • Ask yourself: “What are some things that I appreciate about myself that have nothing to do with my appearance, body, or size?”
  • Write down your answers on a piece of paper or a journal. Then select 3 of your top answers and put a star next to them.
  • The next time you are having a challenging day or are feeling negative about yourself, remind yourself– I am having a challenging day and I am ___, ____, and ___.” Fill in the blanks with your top 3 answers from above.

Remember – these steps will help you on your journey to let go of the rules and control around food and body that are no longer serving you. The goal of these practices are to help you realize that you have all the tools within yourself to become who you are meant to be.

By removing the obstacles that tell you what you need to strive for, you’ll start tapping into your innate wisdom –

And start becoming exactly who you are.

HEADER IMAGE: TAYLOR KISER


Kelly Tomita is a non-diet Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor based out of San Luis Obispo, California. She works with women struggling to live up to the unrealistic beauty and body standards of today’s society by partnering with her clients to rebuild trust and connection with themselves as they navigate the seasons of life. She helps her clients to release control around food and body in order to create more space to be present in their lives and come back home to themselves. Learn more about Kelly at Simply Nourish.

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