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NUTRITION: Are you craving some food freedom?

August 21st, 2022 11:40 AM

By Southern Star Team

Instead of fighting the urge to eat our favourite foods, we should create a safe space where all foods can be eaten free of judgement.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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BY AOIFE MORRISON

BEFORE we dive in, I want you to answer some questions!

1. Do want to be able to keep ANY food in your house without worry that you will eat too much of it?

2. Do you want to be able to eat ANY food you want without fear of overeating or weight gain?

3. Do you want to be able to stop eating when you are comfortably full?

4. Do you want to be able to eat foods that make you feel energised, happy and healthy effortlessly?

I am guessing you answered yes to most, if not all, of these questions. Am I right?

So, what does this mean?  In short, you are seeking food freedom. 

You see, this is what most people want. I mean, who wouldn’t. But the thought of letting go of diets can be scary.  The desire to be able to eat all the food you love is strong. However, the fear of losing control is often stronger.

Diets represent control. If you let go of that control, it will result in absolute carnage. Every cupboard and drawer will be raided, and the scale will highlight the aftermath.

But what if I told you the opposite was true? That your diet is the thing that triggers uncontrollable eating!

They lead to two extremes, either ‘disciplined’ intake of ‘good’ foods, or ‘off the wagon’ free-for-all of all those ‘bad’ foods.

Now I want to ask you one more question…

Do you feel in control around food now?

No? So why do you believe that returning to diets time and again, like you have done in the past, will help you gain that control?

Maybe you have heard the term food freedom. Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you believe it is just another buzzword spouted on social media for views.

Whatever your opinion, let me explain how I interpret the phrase.

It is an approach to nutrition and food that gives control back to you.

Rather than constantly fighting the urge to eat your favourite foods (you know, all the ones the diet industry has made you believe are ‘bad’), it creates a safe space where all foods can be eaten free of judgement or guilt.

Now there is one thing I want to clarify. And for many, this is where they get confused with the concept of all foods fitting in healthy, balanced eating.

Food freedom does not mean you are encouraged to eat chocolate for breakfast, cupcakes for lunch and ice-cream for dinner. Although you can if you want. But instead it encourages you to get back in tune with your body.

You see, you could eat dessert for every meal, but how would that make you feel? I am guessing not great. Not because those foods are ‘bad’, or you are ‘bad’ for eating them. But because your body will be missing out on vital nutrients.  You will be neither nourished nor energised, thus feeling a bit rubbish.So, it won’t be a case that you don’t allow yourself to eat certain foods.  Instead, you take the time to listen to your body and recognise that chocolate for breakfast leaves you tired and hungry very quickly.

As a result, you try some porridge with nuts and chocolate chips on top.  You enjoy porridge and nuts, and the chocolate chips still hit the spot and prevent any cravings later.

Does it happen overnight? No. Is it worth it? In more ways than I can ever explain. My clients are routinely shocked, and thrilled, when they realise the world of food that is now open to them.  That they do not need to feel guilty if the have dessert. Or a side of crisps with their sandwich. Or reintroduce pasta back into their weekly meal plan.

To be free of food rules is to be free of the moral attachments you have placed on food for years. And while it may seem like an impossible goal now, with the right guidance and support, future you will no longer fear dinner out with friends, or birthday celebrations. They will simply become occasions where you can enjoy more delicious food.

• For support and guidance from a qualified nutritionist contact Aoife on 087 448 8540, or email [email protected] Or check out Mums for Nutrition on Instagram.

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