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How to Untangle Food from Guilt

By Sandy Schroeder

If you have a weakness, like brownies or french fries, you may play games with those foods, putting them in a special category, and only indulging now and then. I have played those games for years, and never really mastered them. If brownies were in the house, I just kept nibbling until they were gone. If I drove through my favorite franchise, I always ordered fries.

Marci Evans, RDN, dietician says, “Our inability to resist forbidden foods isn’t a moral failing. It’s how we’re wired. We resist restriction. The more we say a food is bad the more we can’t stop thinking about it.”

Breaking the habit and winning the game could start by ending this “good/bad” labeling. One mom ended hers when her little girl announced, “Cookies are yucky, but carrots are good.” Her mom immediately stopped labeling, criticizing or justifying foods. When the labels leave, brownies are just brownies. We may eat them or not, but they don’t have to become an obsession.

To eat more intuitively, choosing foods in response to your body, try these approaches from

Avoid categories and rigid rules – Be aware of healthy foods and calories, but don’t make every meal a countdown. After you eat, consider how your body feels and decide if you would eat that way again. Skip the judgments and just accept the process. If you voted for pizza, but had a veggie version you may feel slightly too full, choosing something else next time.

Accept hunger – Eating early or not having a second helping after you feel satisfied lets your brain and body learn to trust each other. Gradually, you will feel more relaxed about what you eat, skipping the pushes and pulls that can take all of the pleasure out of a meal.

Let your weight establish its own pace – Often people lose weight when they stop waging a war over food. Eating only when they are really hungry and choosing foods that appeal can create a totally different atmosphere.

Making the effort to eat with friends and family, and savoring special meals can help, too. Skipping lunches at your desk, adding a walk after lunch, or one after dinner works, too. The healthiest people that I know have good appetites and lots of favorite foods, but they have lots of other interests, too. If we follow their lead, we may still eat brownies or fries, but it won’t be a big deal.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Huntington Beach, Calif.

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