Permission can help you meet your nutrition goals
by: Dana Magee, RD, LD, REBEL Dietitian
The past few weeks I have been meaning to write this blog as I am working with multiple clients on the idea of permission. This is something that I often begin with in the first couple of sessions with my clients and is ongoing as we work together. It is often the most difficult thing I ask of my clients and what I would consider the most important part.
Let’s take a step back… what do I mean about permission? Permission may start with by giving yourself permission to take care of yourself and make the call to set up the appointment with the dietitian. It might be giving yourself the permission to spend time, energy and money on YOU. Many of my clients are caregivers in one way or another whether it be as a mother, the go-to person at work, taking care of ailing parents or taking in other family members or friends into their homes.
Permission starts here. Clients may feel selfish for doing this but I can only comfort them in the fact that they deserve care just as much as those they take care of- as well as the fact that they will be a better mother, employee, spouse and friend as they care for themselves. Not to mention the more energy they will have to do so.
Permission and Food: what is the connection?
Next is permission when it comes to food. It may have been from a young age or through various diets that you accumulated the thoughts that certain foods were “bad” and you must limit or avoid them as well as certain foods that were “good” and you must only indulge in those. The cycle this sets us up for is following the “rules”. Following the diet strictly, by restricting these “bad” foods which may be followed with over eating them later on- either later that day, a few days later or even later on in life.
Let’s say you don’t overeat them later on and are successful in restricting them for long periods of time. How will this affect other areas of your life? Going out to dinner dates? Eating at a family members house? Cooking with friends? Packing your child’s lunch? How much of your life energy will be spent on avoiding these foods and situations that these foods arise? What is your quality of life?
Permission will help you be successful.
So back to permission. This comes in when you are sick of this restriction, of this cycle, of this time and energy suck. Trust in yourself (and your support system to help you) allow these foods in your daily meal plan. In fact, plan them right in! I would much rather plan these foods in which will help you to enjoy your meals and we can balance out your meal options with these foods right in there. Mindful eating (being present with your food and savoring the taste of the food) and intuitive eating (eating when hungry and stopping when full) go hand in hand when you decide to give yourself permission as well as understanding food portions and balance.
The interesting thing is this… many of my clients after allowing these foods into their day-to-day diet find that they are actually eating less of them! Or that they never enjoyed them in the first place- it was the allure of it being “bad”, the focus and the restriction that led to overeating them. It is very normal to perhaps overeat on these foods at the beginning depending on your history of restricting these foods in the past. Another factor is giving “fake permission” with the idea in your head that if this doesn’t work these foods will be cut out again. Thinking- I will try this and if it doesn’t work I will start “X” diet next week can lead you to feel that the food is finite and can encourage over eating.
Permission is tricky and most need support along the way as they learn to trust themselves and their food choices. Reach out and call 301-474-2499 to set up and appointment with a REBEL Dietitian to start fitting in these foods and stop the guilt.