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Principle 3 ~ Make Peace With Food

Principle 3, make peace with food, is about getting back that ‘control’ that you thought you’d lost around food.

Have you got what I call fear foods? These are foods that you don’t feel that you can have in the cupboards because you’ll eat them all at once? Or foods that you feel like you’ll miss out on if you don’t have them (it feels like you can’t ever have them again) so you end up bingeing on them? Or maybe they are foods that you just don’t let yourself have because you believe they are bad for you. 

If you’re a long term dieter you probably do have some foods like that. How do they make you feel?

Guilt, shame, and greedy are words that my clients will often use. Bad body feelings, and the feeling that they need to make up for it after if they eat them.

 

What does it mean to make peace with food?

Making peace with food means being at a point where you can eat without negative feelings. You eat with ‘control’. Control isn’t really control, it’s just a word that people might understand in the context of eating. But basically, it’s eating without that lack of control that we often feel in a binge. Eating in a way that feels like you can’t stop, nothing hits the spot, nothing satisfies you. 

To make peace with food means…. just eating. No big deal. 

It’s also having unconditional permission to eat all foods. No rules around what you can and can’t eat, when you have to eat it and when you must stop eating, how much you should eat.

It’s having no fear around the types of food you eat. Quite often we are scared of what the repercussions of eating what you really want might be, and so we try to overcompensate in other ways. But making peace with food means there are no repercussions. No cutting back later, no exercising more, no ‘being good’ and only eating certain types of food to ‘make up for it’.

Obviously it goes without saying that you will still eat allowing for any allergies, intolerances, medical conditions etc.

 

Where does the lack of control come from?

The fear and lack of control comes from restriction. Go back to the binge-restrict pendulum and what do you find – when you restrict calories (which is essentially what all diets do) the pendulum swings back the other way to force you to eat more of the food you have restricted. The longer you leave it and the bigger the restriction, the more extreme the results. 

Wherever there are rules there is restriction. How can you make peace with food when you are being told that there are rules attached to your eating habits?

Diets encourage it. Low carb, low fat, calorie counting. Slimming World and other diets of that nature are effectively calorie reduction. Shakes diets like Cambridge are serious calorie restriction. There is no diet where there is no restriction.

But diets are sneaky. They say you can eat what you want but quite honestly you can’t. They still make some foods good and some foods bad. 

You are encouraged to swap things out. For example, 

  • Swap chocolate for fruit for a sweet fix
  • Don’t have chips, instead have salad
  • Give up you fry up breakfast and go for oats and fruit

 

And you adapt to this. You end up putting the restricted food on a pedestal. You make it so special in your eyes that to have it is a treat.

You ignore body cues like your hunger feelings. You feel like you have ultimate control when you are not having the food and ignoring the hunger, but after……. BOOM!…. there is the fall out. The body kicks back. 

You see, we are reliant on food like we rely on air and water. We need them to live, yet we don’t fight air and we don’t fight water. We don’t try to restrict them or ration them. So why do we do this with food? Ultimately, you can’t quit food so to live in harmony with them you have to make peace with all food. 

 

Unconditional permission to eat

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat any food. Permission to eat what you want. Permission to eat without rules. There is no good/bad food. All food has something it can contribute to your body and how your body functions.

Pizza has a nice range of carbs, fats and protein. If you’ve got veggies on there you’ve also got vitamins and minerals. Even cake can contribute something good. Carbs, fats, protein again. But also it is a good source of quick energy should you need it. Hands up if you recognise the mid afternoon slump, when a bit of an energy boost would be really helpful!

Make peace with eating at any time of day. The time of day doesn’t matter. If you are hungry, if you need energy, then give that to your body. It doesn’t matter what the time is. 

To make peace with food is having no guilt or shame for what you have chosen to eat. It’s owning it, enjoying it, and knowing that there’s nothing to feel guilty about. 

There are lots of ways to make peace with food, but start by making food available and normal to have around.

Become aware of when you’re telling yourself you’ve ‘had enough’ and start asking yourself why. Have you had enough because you’re full, or satisfied, or do you believe you’ve ‘had enough’ because of old dieting messages telling you that you should stop?

It’s all about building up the self trust. Just like with honouring your hunger your body and mind will come to trust you around all foods, and you’ll realise that they’re actually not such a big deal after all. The cravings and binges will reduce, the lack of control will disappear, and you’ll just eat what you feel like eating. I promise!

Don't do it alone

I’m here to help, support and guide you. 

Book a free 30 minute session with me and I’ll help you to find a way to start working with the 10 principles of intuitive eating. 

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Terri

I'm Terri Pugh

I’m here to help you to get rid of the stress and worry around food, eat more intuitively, and find compassion and love for your body, whatever shape or size it is.

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