As I sit here at the tire shop (managed to get a screw lodged in my tire) with half of my acrylic nails missing – don’t ask, getting them removed today – I am thinking about the fourth rung in the Intuitive Eating ladder – banish the Food Police. I have to say, my food police (led by Chatty Kathy herself) is very loud and active. I am finding it very hard not to read the calories on foods when I shop and make decisions based on calories. I wanted some pumpkin spice chai tea last night and after reading the caloric content, even though I really wanted a cup, I opted to not make any. Every night I find myself reviewing my day in food and assigning it a rating – good or bad or just okay. I make this determination based on whether I made good choices or bad that day and vow to do better the next day.
You heard me correctly…No, I’m not talking about choices related to humanity, world peace, equality, or some other worthy issue. I make these judgments based on my food choices for the day. Now some of you, those with healthy relationships with food and your body, do not do this and may even be surprised that someone could evaluate themselves this way.
For those of you, like me, who judge yourself based on the calories, the nutritional value, and the relative healthiness of your food choices, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, this plays right into all of the other things I am supposed to be working on (no diets, honoring hunger, and banishing “bad” food lists and judgments).
As I lay awake this morning, far too early to be awake, I realized that if I am going to have judgments about the relative merit of my eating behavior, these judgments should be related to whether or not I did well in only eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was comfortably full. That is where I am supposed to be right now.
So how well am I doing with that? Better, but not great. But today is another day to learn and improve. I have to be gentle with myself as I work through this process. I am reminding myself throughout the day that I do not put gas in a car when the tank is full and that I usually fill up when it is about ¾ empty. Tonight, as I lay in bed, tempted to review the calories or merit of my food choices, I vow to review my hunger-based eating rather than the food I ate.