*original publication in Summer 2017 issue*
Becoming a Confident, Competent, Fearless Eater
by Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN
For many chronic dieters, the idea of getting off of the vicious cycle of dieting is just as daunting a task as continuing the hunt for the “perfect” diet. With each diet comes a new set of rules. Diet rules can make your head spin and make you doubt your ability to choose foods that nourish and energize your body.
Diet rules also create food stigma; assigning a “bad” label to foods leads to feelings of guilt and/or shame after consuming them. If you have tried numerous diets, chances are that your food-stigma list contains most foods, leaving you with a lack of confidence in your eating intuitiveness skills.
Are you ready to ditch the diet rules and become a confident, competent, fearless eater? You can do it! All it takes is a little practice with this Fearless Eating technique that has empowered many chronic dieters to trust their inner hunger and satiety cues with all foods.
- Make a list: Write down all of the foods on your “No”, “Shouldn’t”, “Bad”, and “Don’t eat that” lists.
- Make a choice: Choose one food to start, and buy lots of it! Make sure you have enough of it in your possession to avoid running out of it during this process.
- Eat: When you are hungry, sit down with your “no” food and eat it. Be curious about it. Notice how it tastes. Is it everything you thought it would be? Do you like it? Does it energize you or does it make you feel tired? Stop eating when you come to a comfortable fullness (this will also take practice).
- Repeat: Eat your “no” food the next time you are hungry, and every time after that, if you want it. Because the restriction over the “no” food has been removed, over time, your desire for it will fade, and so will the stigma attached to it.
Practice Fearless Eating with every food on your list until food restriction is a thing of the past. Watch your confidence and competence to make good food choices – based on what actually nourishes, energizes, and satisfies you – grow and grow. You’ve got this!