Mindful Eating Programs and Training

Mindful Eating Programs and Training

Fearless Eating: 3 questions to decide what to eat

Michelle May


Thank you for watching my last video about why relearning how to listen to and trust your body wisdom can be a game changer! As I promised, in this video I’m going to talk about Fearless Eating. I’ll give you three questions to ask yourself for deciding what to eat without restriction and deprivation.

For more than 20 years we’ve been guiding people to an inside-out approach to eating! They no longer need to weigh, measure, count, or log food and exercise but instead, can trust themselves to be in charge of their eating.

In the last video, I shared one of the many tools we teach that can help you reconnect with your body wisdom: the Hunger and Fullness Scale. Think of this awareness tool like the fuel gauge in your car: You don’t fill up every time you see a gas station. You check your fuel gauge first!

Now I know I made it sound easy, but there are a lot of challenges people face because this is such a revolutionary way to think about their eating. Near the end of this video, we’ll talk about one of the biggest challenges for people who are finally ready to address their eating challenges head-on.

Fearless Eating

The second pattern I saw in the eating challenges you shared is the tremendous influence of diet culture.

Diet culture is this prevailing belief that there is a right and a wrong way to eat, that certain foods are good and others are bad, and that if people just followed the rules, everyone would be thin.

This prevalent cultural message has so many flaws, I won’t have time to address them all here, but let me talk about one of the major problems.

Making foods good and bad, and making yourself good or bad depending on what you eat or how much you weigh, has exactly the opposite of the intended effect!

Depriving yourself of foods you love causes you to think about them even more often. Many of you shared how you think about food all the time or struggle with constant cravings.

You may be able to resist these so called “bad” foods for a while, but you might find yourself seeking out replacements that aren’t very satisfying. You continue to crave the foods you don’t think you should eat. When you eventually “give in” and eat them, you find it difficult to stop eating them. You eat until you are too full and uncomfortable then feel guilty. This confirms your “original” belief that some foods are bad, and maybe you are even addicted to them.

You promise yourself to start over tomorrow, or Monday, or January 2nd and you restart the restrictive cycle.

Now some of you aren’t on a formal diet, but you’ve picked up various rules from every diet you’ve been on in the past and good food/bad food messages from friends and family, the news, social media, and your doctor’s office. Sometimes you don’t even realize you have these thoughts, until you recognize that you think about food all the time and that you feel out of control when you eat certain foods.

Three questions to ask yourself to decide what to eat

Ironically, the solution is fearless eating! In other words, learning how to think about food in a more neutral way, by making decisions from the inside-out.

In this video, I introduced you to a technique for making decisions about what to eat that aren’t based on all restrictive rules.

Ask yourself three questions:

  • What do I want?
  • What do I need?
  • What do I have?

I explain the purpose of each question in the video.

You CAN learn to eat fearlessly!

I know it can feel scary to give up the rules if you’ve lost control in the past. But remember, that happened BECAUSE you tell yourself you shouldn’t eat certain foods. Believe me, when you break up with diet rules, food begins to lose its power over you.

We’ve seen it happen for thousands of people, and it can happen for you too!

Your turn!

In my next video, we’ll start to tackle emotional eating. I’ll help you understand why your impulse to eat can feel so powerful and difficult to resist sometimes.

But first, what do you think of these three questions? Could they help? Does it scare you to ask what you want to eat?

Please share your thoughts and questions in the Comments below.

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7 thoughts on “Fearless Eating: 3 questions to decide what to eat”

  1. My problems is, I really can’t eat certain things due to managing my blood sugar. It has not been as difficult as I thought to leave certain foods alone. I can no longer eat what I love. LOL, rather I am eating to live.

    1. Chanda, I’m glad you are taking diabetes management seriously since it makes a big difference in your immediate and long-term health.
      It’s important to note that it is not “restrictive” if you don’t feel restricted! So, if cutting back on certain foods doesn’t leave you feeling deprived (and later bingeing on those foods) then it sounds like this is working for you!
      However, I’ve worked with many people who have diabetes (or other health conditions) and fall into the same eat-repent-repeat cycle they struggled with when dieting. Since diabetes is a long-term issue, they need a long-term approach! It is not necessary to eliminate certain foods (i.e. carbs) from your diet but it is helpful to learn how your body responds to different amounts of carbs (and other macronutrients) after your snacks and meals so you can adjust the amount you eat and keep your glucose in your target range. (For more about all this, take a look at Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes – https://amihungry.com/marketplace/eat-what-you-love-love-what-you-eat-with-diabetes-a-mindful-eating-program-for-thriving-with-prediabetes-or-diabetes)

  2. The hardest questions are what do I want and what do I have. I struggle with keeping things I like readily available. Because the doctor said to stop eating wheat, I have to roast vegetables and/or make salads or other vegetables almost daily, so no more quickie meals. Also my husband is on a low sodium diet so we struggle with getting good food on the table. No wonder women didn’t used to work outside the home! It is just a change of mindset too that we are struggling with-no more easy processed food which is good but time consuming. We are still learning what we like that we can eat.

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