This is a post I’ve been wanting to sit down and write for a while now….
But I had to been in the right head space. Alas, I believe I am in the perfect space of being low key worked up but also chill. #wine
I titled this post “Why I’m not quitting sugar”. I am not writing this post because I need to defend myself, but because I want to reach a subset of women and men who have unwittingly created food fear in their own lies. People tend to see what someone else is doing in their "diet" and they automatically use that to make judgements on their own. This should not be the case.
Rule rules rules. People love the damn food rules for the sake of "wellness”. People love to create a problem when there isn’t necessarily a problem. People love to demonize things and beat themselves up thinking they can do better and by golly they better “detox after the weekend”. They better “pay” for that. They better get their body “back on track”.
Now I will have to say, there is a time and a place for detoxes and sugar cleanses and the like; however, the majority of the girls I know and my own clients do not fall into this category of needing to “detox” from or quit anything. This is who I am writing this post for.
Another side note: Quitting certain foods does not automatically make you “cleansed”. Detoxes should involve encouraging your body’s natural detoxifying pathways. Detoxing can be done effectively if you support the liver in phase 1 and 2 of the detoxification process. This can be beneficial at times and for therapeutic reasons. But alas, this is not what I am addressing in this post.
Apart from a legitimate food sensitivity, allergy, or legitimate therapeutic reason, creating more rules and guilt and thus, morality around food is not necessary. I would even go so far as to say that it can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing. I see it over an over again- girls who are already struggling with developing a good relationship with food and their bodies thinking that they are doing something wrong and thus, feeling guilty for not “quitting sugar”.
Again. I get it. I know. Wellness is my jam. Sugar is not great for hormonal regulation, inflammation, and all that jazz. But oh my gosh… lets keep it all in perspective! Let’s remember that our emotional and mental wellbeing is arguably the first priority. If you’re worried about eating fruit, honey and even sugar … then I encourage you to take a long, hard look at your relationship with food. Ladies (and men): There is nothing wrong with enjoying sugar- of any form, without feelings of guilt. There is nothing wrong with “indulging” over the weekend without feeing the need to “detox” and extend certain diet parameters when the new week starts. Again, there is a time and a place for “detoxing” and sugar quitting, but when it comes as a detriment to your relationship with food- now is not the time. In my previous job, I worked with people who were downing 2 liters of soda every day… those are the kind of people who would benefit from an immediate sugar detox. I wouldn’t blink an eye to that! But to my ladies who are trying to heal their relationship with food and their bodies: please know physical healing and well-being does not have to come at the cost of mental sanity.
Why do I feel so passionate? Because I’ve been there. I’ve been scared of food to an extreme degree. I feared a lot of food— but probably sugar most of all. But I don’t any more. I use to think: I can’t eat sugar or it will negate my workout. Or, I can’t eat sugar or I will gain weight. Or, I can’t eat sugar because of inflammation and insulin. But guess what? I don’t think like that anymore because it was detrimental to me and unnecessary for me to put parameters on my diet. When I gave myself permission to eat, then I found I did not intuitively crave allllll of the sugar. So for me, creating a food rule around sugar actually made my crave it more. I don’t fear of weight gain with my sugar intake. Again, I’m not going crazy, but I eat “sugar” probably every single day in the form of something: be it a cookie, chocolate, wine, cocktail, honey, fruit… you name it. And guess what? I am physically well. Even more than that, I am emotionally well. I feel better than I ever have and THAT is what is important to me. Food is not driving me mad. Food is not my obsession. Food is just food. It is a joy… it is not an obsession. This happened when I learned to leave the food rules and the black and white/polarized thinking behind. This is the great thing about intuitive eating: You may indulge over the weekend, but then Monday comes around and chances are you will automatically tend towards the greens and such without setting up parameters for yourself. No need to punish yourself… just listen to what your body craves.
I think valuable intuition for anyone to have is knowing what is appropriate for them and what is not. For me, with a history of an eating disorder and extreme obsession with food and detoxes, unnecessary (non-therapeutic) food rules simply DO.NOT.WORK.FOR.ME. Well, I take that back… they work for me in the way that I do them and I do them well. When I make my mind up to do something, I will do that thing at any cost. But guess what? I’m a miserable person when I do that. I know myself well enough to know that if I ever restrict or create food rules for myself, then I crave those things all the more. It drives me mad and I feel suppressed. I feel a slave to food again. Any kind of rule, as well intentioned as it may be, is off limits for me. I don’t allow myself to go there anymore. I lived as a slave to food for so long that I’m just f******** over it. OVER IT.
Now hear this: I know quitting sugar and all works for some people. I know that it is necessary for some people. I understand breaking the cycle of sugar addiction and regulating hormones. TRUST. I get it.
What someone else is doing does not apply to you. If you fear that you are not doing something right because you are not creating food rules for yourself- whether that’s concerning gluten, sugar, alcohol, carbs etc, then I challenge you to step away from outside influences for now. Be kind to yourself and remember: you know you best. Do don’t think you are doing some sort of disservice or detriment to yourself by not eliminating this or that.
Just to reiterate: when I stopped creating food rules, the appeal of the foods I was scared of decreased tremendously. When your mind is not fixated on this thing that you cannot have, then you are free to actually decide what foods you truly enjoy and what you do not enjoy. You’ll find that while you may crave all of the donuts or all of the bread at first… those cravings eventually subside. The “honeymoon phase” goes away. You realize you don’t crave those things as often as you thought you did. It is a beautiful thing. (Read more about the journey to intuitive eating here.)
Furthermore, when there are no unnecessary food rules, you eliminate the possibility for guilt to sneak in. You eliminate the possibility for food to have morality around it. Food should not have guilt or shame attached to it. I lived in that space for too long and I am so so passionate about getting others to this same place of food freedom. When you have created unnecessary food rules for yourself, if you fail… guess what… there is guilt. That is what rules do. They create guilt and shame when you do not adhere to them.
Again, I feel like keep having to come back to this place: truly, some people need to abstain from food for medical and therapeutic reasons. I work with women who have to do this and we are careful to honor their physical needs but also ensure we do not damage their relationship with food. It is truly a delicate balance that requires you to place yourself in the right headspace.
My purpose in writing this post is to reach a certain target audience who are unnecessarily limiting their food choices for the sake of “wellness” at the cost of their relationship with food. I believe our bodies and minds would be better served by making intuitive eating and a traditional food diet our priority. This way, our bodies are in a place to tell us what the truly need. In this way, there is no need for food parameters. You do not have to be out of control when it comes to food. That is the beauty of intuitive eating- it gets you to that place of food peace and wellness without having to compromise in other areas of your life. Because guess what? Sometimes I crave all the fruit… all the chocolate… and all the wine… and that is okay. I honor that shiz. #teamnofoodrules