I want to share something with you that I recently learned about my eating habits. In my early 20s, when my hardcore dieting phase was in full effect, I could not keep ice cream in my house. If I knew there was ice cream anywhere in the house, I would eat enormous amounts in one sitting. Why? Because I told myself it was ‘bad for me’ and that I should stay away from it.
But then my willpower would fade after a few weeks and I would go buy ice cream and binge on a large container (or more) because I had “been so good I deserved a treat.” And then I would spend the rest of the week feeling bad about my lack of willpower and try to restrict my calories for the rest of the week to make up for it. I would promise myself I would never do it again… until my willpower faded once more and I could grab a couple Ben and Jerry’s at the grocery store.
This restrict-binge-guilt phase controlled most of my eating patterns. I never felt in control. It was stressful and I constantly thought about food, and not in a good way. It was always accompanied by a side of guilt, no matter what I ate.
After a few stressful life events, I knew that I could not continue this cycle. It was turning into a disorder, and something needed to change. I started practicing eating in moderation. It took years, literally years, to learn my triggers and listen to my hunger cues.
This wasn’t just a quick change for me. It involved building a lot of small habits to help me consume less fatty and calorie-dense foods and more fiber, protein, fruits, and veggies. I never considered this a diet. I cut nothing out. I never said no to something I truly wanted to eat, but I worked on eating less of whatever it is. I also learned to say no to things I really didn’t feel like eating. I am proud to say I’m no longer a member of the clean plate club most days!
So now, about three years after starting this moderation journey (and working on it through my first pregnancy and baby, too) I can now say that I have had this Ben and Jerry’s pint in my freezer for the past two weeks and I have only eaten one spoonful. Simply because I haven’t wanted to eat it.
I’m still a work in progress, but I feel like I finally have control over my sweet tooth. Old me would have NEVER been able to do this.
That’s something I feel really, really proud of.