Strategies for Fearless Eating

Diabetes, Diabetes Type 1, Diabetes Type 2, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on April 26, 2012

Are there foods that you’d love to be able to eat without guilt or fear? Is so, the following strategies for fearless eating will help you rebuild trust in your ability to listen to your body wisdom. These steps will help you try out one previously forbidden food at a time and eat it regularly until is loses its magic and goes back to just being delicious. Move through the steps at a pace that’s comfortable for you.

  1. Make a list of your “scary foods,” foods you enjoy but generally restrict yourself from eating for fear of losing control.
  2. Choose one of the foods from your list and give yourself full permission to eat it when you’re hungry and really, really, really, really want it. This is the “four really” test.
  3. When you’re hungry and decide you want that food (it passes the “four really” test), buy, prepare, or order one serving.
  4. Eat the food mindfully, without distractions, and focus on the aroma, appearance, flavor, and texture as you eat. You’ll learn more strategies for mindful eating in chapter 13.
  5. Does the food taste the way you imagined it would? Sometimes, you’ll discover that it isn’t as good as you thought it would be; you may even decide not to finish it or that you won’t bother with it in the future. If you love it, continue to give yourself permission to buy or order it whenever you want.
  6. You may decide to keep enough of that food in your house so that you’ll know it’s there if you want it. For some people, keeping certain foods in the house can feel too scary. In that case, promise yourself that you’ll purchase and prepare only as much as you’ll need for one sitting or go to a restaurant and order it when you want it.
  7. Don’t be surprised if you want that food frequently at first; that’s normal. Relax; the cravings will decrease when you realize the food is no longer forbidden.
  8. This strategy is also helpful if you find yourself obsessing about a particular food.
  9. When you’re ready, choose another food from your list and practice the process again.
  10. If you find yourself overeating certain foods, ask yourself, What was I thinking when I was eating it? Thoughts like I shouldn’t eat this or I’ve already blown it; my sugar will be high anyway, so I might as well have another piece can continue to drive overeating. Remember, you’re in charge now, so replace those thoughts with more powerful, fearless thoughts.
  11. Repeat these steps regularly to banish the fear that you’re not in charge of your eating.

When you are free to eat whatever you want, you’ll notice that food quickly loses the power and attraction it once had. You’ll begin to trust that you can choose from among all the wonderful food choices available when you’re hungry. You won’t have to stock up in anticipation of your next round of self-denial. Amazingly, you’ll also find that you make healthier choices and feel more satisfied with less food.

Excerpted from Eat What You Love, Love What you Eat With Diabetes: A Mindful Eating Program for Thriving With Prediabetes or Diabetes (New Harbinger Publications).