DAY 17-

TRY A FORBIDDEN FOOD USING MINDFULNESS

Today’s challenge is to take a food that you never normally allow yourself to eat, and eat it!

The logic behind this is that most people never really eat the foods that they call ‘bad’ and have forbid themselves.

Sure, you might consume chocolate, but if you have a dieting mentality then you don’t really eat chocolate. You put it in your mouth, and swallow it, but it is a process digested with guilt rather than pleasure.

Many people make the mistake of believing that the concept of pleasure in eating- and really enjoying food like chocolate- will lead you to eat non-stop like a gold-fish.

As counterintuitive as it might sound, the opposite is actually true.

When we truly eat for pleasure, we become satisfied and satisfaction is what helps to keep us feeling full, and how we develop a healthy relationship with food.

However, when we eat something, and are already punishing ourselves while eating it, we are not truly allowing ourselves the freedom to be satisfied.

This keeps a certain amount of novelty around the food. That novelty means we can never truly have it, and so it stays exciting.

Excitement keeps us wanting it, but the lack of enjoyment means our appetite is never content and so the vicious cycle continues.

To neutralize any food, we need to take away it’s power by just making it normal. We make it normal by eating it without guilt or shame. Eventually, after it becomes just another food, we can stop overeating it, and include it in moderation with no fuss, and without any willpower.

This can be incredibly difficult for many to start because we are constantly told that some foods are bad for us.

I’ll admit that there are plenty of foods that I don’t really eat that might be considered bad.

Donuts are one of them. I love donuts, but I eat less donuts now than ever, and it’s all because I actually allow myself the permission to eat them.

Because I have unlimited permission, they are not exciting in the same way as when they were a taboo food. There is no novelty. If I want one, I eat it.

It is like dangling a piece of string in front of a cat. If you keep teasing it, it will stay fascinated, but as soon as you drop the string, the cat gets bored very quickly.

What I used to do with donuts however was deny myself them, and try to never eat them again. All that ended up happening was that I would eventually eat them, and I wouldn’t just eat one. No, I’d eat a whole pack, and feel terrible afterwards, and then tell myself “look, you see what happens when I eat donuts! I feel sick and get fat!”

But whose fault was that?

Now I eat one if I want one. It’s incredible how rarely I want one. I like to prioritise whole foods because they make me feel good, and I know that moment I ban donuts, and say I never want to eat them again, I will build up so much tension, and I will crash.

So give it a try. It’s important to just stick with one food that you reintroduce. If you do too many of your forbidden foods in one go, then there will still be novelty. You want to really enjoy it. Slow down while you eat. Savour the flavour. If you rush, then you’re losing the opportunity. Also, try not to eat your forbidden food when you are too hungry otherwise you really will eat a lot. Try to eat something nourishing first. Leave enough room so that you will still enjoy your forbidden food, and go slowly.