Posts tagged Emotional Eating
Three Questions to Ask to Stop Feeling Guilt and Shame Over “Bad” Foods

Whether you’re new to intuitive eating, deeper into learning about the non-diet approach, or at a different stage of your eating disorder recovery, it’s very possible you still feel guilt or shame about — or judge — the foods you’re eating. This can feel especially irritating if you’ve embraced body positivity and intellectually know restriction — or holding on to the diet mentality — isn’t serving you. 

Guilt and shame around “forbidden” foods is one of the most common conflicts I address in my nutrition practice. And you know what? It has nothing to do with the food. 

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An apple and potato chips would be morally neutral if it weren’t for diet culture’s interventions. Moving away from restrictive tendencies and toward a more liberated approach to food requires vigilant questioning and criticism of the diet industry and its trappings. Who decides what’s “healthy”? How have I come to my beliefs about food? Why do I feel like eating multiple servings of a “forbidden” food is too much? What’s wrong with enjoying a chocolate bar? 

Dissolving judgment, guilt, and shame around food takes ample time, and isn’t easy or straightforward, here’s 3 questions to start asking yourself to make peace with food. 

1. How do I believe my feelings are benefitting me? 

When we speak about judgment, guilt, and shame about food, chances are good we’re talking about judgment, guilt, and shame about body. If you’re unsure if this is true, ask yourself this: If I totally loved my body and how it gets received in the world, would I care about the double cheese pizza I’m eating right now

I want you to get really curious: are you holding on to your thoughts and beliefs about food because you feel they’re benefitting you in some way? Maybe you feel a distinct charge around “carbs” because you believe they will lead to weight gain (false), or around sugar because you’re inherently “addicted” (no such thing.) 

If you are still trying to manipulate your body size or shape in some form or another — even in subtle ways — they can lead to feelings of guilt and shame around food. While food exposure therapy can be helpful at normalizing “forbidden” foods, deeper body image work and fat acceptance are necessary for completely neutralizing the charge. Fully recovering from diet culture and disordered eating requires complete acceptance of your natural body. 


2. What’s consistent about the foods I carry negative feelings for? 

We can get so caught up in the diet mentality bubble that we often miss its trappings. It’s important to question — and keep questioning — your beliefs and reactions about food. What’s similar about the foods you’re reacting to? Are you always eating these “forbidden foods” at the same time? In the same way?

It’s helpful to look at your food and eating patterns. Are there certain food groups that provoke a deeper reaction from you than others? Do you feel safe around fat, but not around sugar? What sorts of messages are you exposed to on a regular basis? Which foods are demonized at your office? In the room? Within your friend groups? 

Food exposure therapy doesn’t just happen at the table. It happens out in the world.

3. What do I think about when I’m eating these foods?

Do donuts remind you of anyone or anything? What about French fries? In the same way that certain foods carry positive connotations — enjoying fresh-picked raspberries with your grandmother, for example, or savouring an ice cream cone with your best friend on a hot summer’s day — we also carry more negative food experiences with us (I’m looking at you, negativity bias). Are those negative moments making it tough to neutralize certain foods? 

It’s important to look at the framework around the foods you feel guilt or shame toward. In my professional experience, the medium can be as important as the message. 

Now, I want to know: which of the three questions above do you find the most helpful? Does one resonate more than the others?

Can't Stop Overeating at Night?: 5 Steps to Stop Feeling Like a Post-Dinner Food Junkie

Hey loves! This post is part of a 4-part series designed to boost your body image and improve your relationship with food so you can let go of dieting. I know so many of you believe diets don't work, yet simultaneously also believe the next diet will work for you. Or, you're done with diets, but intuitive eating feels so overwhelming (so many principles!) and you aren't sure how you'll ever shake the diet mentality. That's okay! Over the next five weeks, we're covering:

  • Can't Stop Overeating at Night?: 5 Steps to Stop Feeling Like a Post-Dinner Food Junkie

  • Where "Feeling Fat" Comes From and How to Start Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Skin

  • 10 Reasons You Still Hate Your Body (And What To Do About It)

  • Owning What We Eat: Why all Diets and Eating Styles Make Us Crazy Around Food

Let's set the scene.

You make sure to sit down to a nourishing breakfast. Maybe it’s a green smoothie made with Granny Smith apple, celery, cucumber, Romaine lettuce, watercress, and the juice of a lime and lemon. Lunch is always a salad topped with some kind of protein or a bowl of soup. You snack on hummus and vegetables. But come nighttime, you can't stop eating to the point of overeating. You find yourself compulsively raiding the cupboards, eating whatever you can get your hands on. Crackers, half-empty bags of potato chips, that lone pint of ice cream, chocolates your friend Suzy brought over on the weekend. You can’t stop and more significantly, you feel totally out of control. You don’t feel satisfied, and worse, you feel crazy. If I could just control the mindless snacking, you’ve said. If only I could stop bingeing, I’d be able to maintain my weight, you've said. 

It’s not you, darling. It’s the diet or the restriction. 

Body positive, intuitive eating, emotional eating, late night snacking, holistic nutrition, health at every size. 5 steps to stop feeling like a post-dinner food junkie when you can't stop eating at night.

 

We’ve been programmed to think of food as the enemy. Sugar is a drug, right? Not so much; science hasn’t proven that. I would argue “sugar addiction” is way less about sugar than it is about our relationship to sugar. I can eat a pack of gummy bears and not eat candy for weeks, so claiming it’s on par with cocaine is probably not all that apt. 

Others claim we burn through glucose (carbohydrates) before fat because sugar’s toxic to our bodies, but if it’s so toxic, why is it that our bodies convert excess amino acids (protein) into glucose? You can't look anywhere without being warned of dramatic food-related dangers. Salt is bad for our kidneys and blood pressure, steak is bad for our hearts -- oh wait, just deli meat!, milk gives us acne, eggs elevate cholesterol, and bread makes us fat. Am I missing anything? Hyper caloric foods, like pizza and cheeseburgers, are blamed for “the obesity epidemic”. We live in an obsegenic environment! crusaders cry out. 

But we don’t only overeat when there’s an abundance of food. We also overeat in response to perceived or real food scarcity. I mean, just check out the Ancel Keys starvation study in Minnesota between 1944-45. Are we eating more “junk foods” because we have easy access to them, or are we eating more because we’re not suppose to? Because we live in a Puritanical society hyper fixated on “clean eating”, cleanses, detoxification, and the general holiness or lack thereof of foods?

Is a child more likely to eat all the cookies because they’re there, or because you’ve said, “Hey, look at all those cookies! But don’t eat any”?

If “thin” is the crack we’re all after, then diets are the dealers. 

Now, my fridge doesn’t work. The third shelf freezes everything and the first shelf remains at room temperature. We’ve spent over $600 on repairs and no one can fix it. Is this my fault? No. The fridge is clearly a lemon. Someone probably knew it was a lemon when it was sold to us at a heavily discounted price. We suspected it was a lemon the first time we needed it repaired. No amount of work will not make the fridge a lemon. But I can either accept that it’s a lemon and get myself a new fridge — one that makes good on its promises — or I can keep trying to get this thing to work by pouring more money into it, trying to make lemonade out of something that has no juice. 

So what does this have to do with your inability to stop eating at night? Everything, my love, because through your actions — trying to “be good” all day in accordance with standards set by diet culture — you’re creating the framework to support disordered eating, over-eating, and late night, eat-everything-in-sight binges. 

In other words, by not eating what you want, when you want — restricting and depriving — you are setting yourself up for late night binge eating. You can’t stop the binge eating at night because you haven’t quit the very behaviours that cause it. 

So how do you quit? 

1 | Let go of the pressure to “be good” during the day. 

Release the pressure to “be good” at all. Does eating Doritos make you a mean person? Is having a slice of pizza at lunch on the same level as burning down an orphanage? Part of developing an awesome relationship with food requires you to stop giving food so much power over your identity. You are not your food choices. You are not better for eating a kale salad or worse for eating ice cream; you are not more beautiful, accepted, successful, loved, intelligent, or brave for having a green smoothie, and not uglier, less acceptable, a failure, a loser, or stupid for eating an egg sandwich with cheese and bacon. 

I know health is more or less marketed this way (look at that gorgeous blonde with the green smoothie cycling on the beach!) and pizza’s image isn’t nearly as sexy, but it’s important to distinguish between what is advertising and what is reality. Between what is health and what is weight obsession. Between what is fact and what is fiction

When you stop trying to control and police your food choices and allow your eating decisions to arise naturally, you’ll find you instinctively choose a variety of foods. And about “pizza Friday”, cheat meals, and cheat days? They're other forms of restriction. Sometimes you’ll want a cheeseburger on a Wednesday and a chicken salad on a Saturday. Sometimes you’ll crave carrot sticks when others are eating cake. Sometimes you’ll want two slices of cake when others crave carrots. This is all part of normal eating. This is step one to stop overeating at night or feeling like you have no ownership over your food intake. 

2 | Allow the satisfaction factor to take the lead. I also want you to consider how satisfying your food choices currently are. Do you eat foods you enjoy, or do you choose them based exclusively on their alleged health properties? Do you allow magazines to determine your meal plan, or do you make recipes that sound good to you? This is a big part of making peace with compulsive, intense nighttime eating. 

Years ago, I would agonize over my lunch choices. I limited myself to approved foods for a long time (the list was pretty short at one point.) Now I genuinely eat what sounds the most satisfying to me. This question actually leads me to eat all kinds of foods. Now, I don’t necessarily eat exactly what I want all the time due to things like availability and — let’s face it — budget, but I find keeping ingredients I love around the house helps a lot. You can make a pot of lentil soup a bit more satisfying by topping it with feta’s cheese, avocado, or adding in a couple sausage links; a can of chickpeas can be rinsed, plated, and adorned with Kalamata olives, pickled onions, arugula, and a bright salad dressing. Instead of focusing on whether something is healthy or unhealthy, ask yourself: is this what I want? Does this meal look delicious? It requires a bit of a shift in thinking, but by prioritizing satisfaction over fat burning properties/etc, you’ll be less ravenous and unsatisfied in the evening because you ate delicious foods all day long

3 | Question why you feel some foods are off-limits and ‘forbidden’. Which foods make you feel like you’re “being bad”? Where do these beliefs originate? What fears are they masking? Maybe you associate “clean” foods, like salads, smoothies, and fish as “being good”, and ice cream, cookies, and potato chips as “being bad.” Chances are good that you eat your “good” foods during the day and can’t resist “bad” foods in the evening. 

Why can’t you eat pizza during the day?

What’s wrong with having a cheeseburger for lunch?

What’s wrong with eating a big plate of carbs?

Why do you believe red meat is unhealthy?

Where did you learn these things from?

A big part of the reason you are emotionally eating at night is because you are emotionally eating during the day. Usually we associate “emotional eating” with an empty bag of potato chips or pint of ice cream, but emotional eating has nothing to do with your food choices and everything to do with your habits and behaviours around your food choices. You are eating to “be good.” You are eating to satisfy the rules. You are eating for weight loss or weight maintenance. You are following your diet to a T. You are completing the steps your “health guidelines” ask of you to manifest the unspoken promise of all diets: that if you just follow the rules like a good student, everything will be better. You’ll have an amazing relationship, look stellar in all of your clothes, have better friendships, and be more interesting. Except none of this will be true, because defying your natural programming — your physiology — requires you to focus only on your exercise and food consumption to the exclusion of all the other facets of your life. Diets don’t make you interesting; a word where the first three letters spell “die” should be your first clue. 

4 | Eat enough during the day. Whenever someone tells me they can’t stop overeating at night, I immediately suspect they’re under-eating during the day. I know you’ve been taught to “watch what you eat”, to control your portions, show some class A “willpower” (still not sure what this is), and avoid overeating during the day. But you know what? Your body needs calories, otherwise known as energy! And chances are good that it will find a way to get what it needs even if you don’t freely offer it up. 

All of this means that if you don’t eat enough during the day, the kitchen will be totally irresistible. Those crackers that once looked pretty benign now sound damn good. You won’t just want one or two cookies; you’ll want the whole box. You’ll feel like maybe you need a kitchen that works a bit like Netflix and offers up food on demand (actually, this sounds kind of awesome…). 

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

Eat! How much? Try to tune in to when you’re hungry. Understand your hunger has many different manifestations not limited to stomach growling. Eat. This is difficult for a lot of people and takes some time, especially if you’ve been chronic dieting or restricting, so go easy on yourself. Be patient. But the most important takeaway here is this: eating is vital to life. Food is vital to life. Eat throughout the day. Practice eating until it feels like second nature, until your intuition kicks in and says, hey, enough of that, or hey, I need more

5 | Ask yourself what you need to feel calm.

Without realizing it, sometimes we eat to calm ourselves. We feel anxious about something or other, and eat for comfort. Of course, food can’t really comfort us — not in the way we probably need, deep down. 

I don’t see anything wrong with eating pizza (or whatever you love!) after a stressful day. Food is an easy, immediate coping mechanism, and frankly, part of what it means to be a human being living in the real world. But that said, you’re going to want to find ways to cope with stress and anxiety — any negative, "out of your comfort zone" feelings — outside of food. 

What do you need to feel calm? Part of releasing my attachment to food and body obsession meant I had a lot more time for hobbies and interests, like book club, reading, writing, and watching Sex and the City on repeat. I’m someone who loves yoga on a Sunday, looks forward to morning workouts, enjoys chilling in bed at night watching a movie, and having wine with friends. It has all meant being more present and engaged. That will look different for you, but I encourage you to seek it out. What can you add to your life? How much time will leading an intuitive lifestyle free up for other things? 

There is so much more to life than food. I'm hoping through this series that I can help you to explore and enjoy all of it. 

Did you experience an "aha" moment reading this? Which tip resonates with you the most?

If you'd like help normalizing your night eating, I offer a special service -- the Habits & Behaviours Audit -- to help you to make peace with food and neutralize attachments to power and fear foods. Check it out by clicking here

10 Signs You're Still Dieting (And How to Stop)

Diets don’t work — and actually result in added weight gain the majority of the time. And they're not always easy to spot. Cabbage soup and grapefruit diets of the past were surpassed by more complex systems like Weight Watchers and The Zone, portioned out plans like Jenny Craig, low-fat diets touted by the likes of Dean Ornish, and a slew of low-carbohydrate diets (Atkins, South Beach), which were replaced by "eating styles" (Paleo, Keto, Bulletproof, clean eating, therapeutic diets, and veganism, depending on the approach). Each varies in nutrient-density and research, though the copy all reads the same. 

But while diets are easy to quit, ditching the diet mentality is a whole other story. Many of us are unaware of how easily we internalize these thoughts, alongside the slew of toxic messages about how unworthy we are of an incredible life. I mean, you can’t turn a corner without being told you’re not thin enough, tall enough, pretty enough, glowing enough, shredded enough, successful enough…just not enough. So even if you've managed to ditch the diet, the hangover it leaves can feel nothing short of killer. 

That’s the thing about diets — they’re not just about what we’re eating. Within the context of food and eating, they’re equally about what we’re thinking, how we’re behaving, what we believe, and, as Kris Carr said, a manifestation of what’s eating us (I’m throwing this last statement out of context, but it’s still true.)

Intuitive eating, emotional eating, binge eating, recovery warrior, body positive, health at every size, anti-diet. 10 Signs you're still dieting and how to stop.

1. You worry about “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” foods (or “good” vs. “bad” foods.) 

It’s endlessly fascinating to me how “balanced diet” now means 100% healthy foods, which change on a dime depending on the year, and sometimes come with a set number of “cheat days” or “cheat meals.” Did you have to steal money for your pizza? Did you hurt someone for your nachos? Ending the diet cycle means you’ve stopped worrying so much about cheating on your diet and have started seriously wondering if you’re cheating on yourself. 

One of the core beliefs of intuitive eating is that all foods fit. While there are exceptions (always), the conviction that health and potato chip consumption or a daily cookie or a handful of M&Ms cannot co-exist is actually dissonant, since our bodies can handle a variety of foods. Evolution has moulded them into masters at letting us know when we’ve had enough of something. What happens if you’ve eaten too much fruit or too many cookies? Your stomach probably hurts, right? You might get a headache or feel generally unwell. How do you feel if you’ve had too many fried foods? If you're eaten too many fibrous foods? 

If you’ve eaten too many heavy meals, you may naturally start craving lighter fare. If you’ve been without vegetables, you may desperately crave a salad. All of this is to say that while gentle, foundational nutrition knowledge is helpful, especially in connecting us to what we actually need, our bodies are pretty good are telling us what they need if we were only to stop listening to external voices and to start honouring the one that matters most.

I’m not saying this is easy. It’s challenging to shift from a diet mindset to one that embraces all foods. But try to venture into the grocery store with a fresh set of eyes. Look around. What do you gravitate towards? What looks good to you? If everything carried the same emotional attachment, what would you like to eat? The only “unhealthy” thing about enjoying pizza on a Friday night is feeling guilty about it the next day. 

2. You count calories, macros, or some other number for the purpose of weight loss or weight maintenance, and you fear your eating would be out of control without MyFitnessPal.

Many people fear that without the constraints of diet culture they would relentlessly overeat. But I want to clarify that intuitive eating is not the Netflix of diets — we’re not eating on demand. We’re eating when we’re hungry, stopping when we’re full (usually — you’ve gotta live a little), and eating foods that always taste and usually feel good. Seems so sound and yet so radical, doesn’t it?

Dieting actually silences your natural hunger/fullness cues and satiety because you become accustomed to external eating guidelines as opposed to internally-motivated ones. Diets also prevent us from reaching our natural weight — a weight best suited to us — because we use them to reach and maintain a size that may not be healthy for us at all. If you’re dieting and always hungry, it's very likely you're not eating enough. 

For example, you may eat only 1200 calories per day because you were told to and find yourself constantly starving —  even if you actually need more like 2, 200. And since we're on the topic of calorie counters, I’m not a fan of any diet, but I have a real bone to pick with calorie counting apps. Do you actually know how many calories you need not just to survive, but to thrive? Sometimes I’m super hungry and sometimes I’m not. How does a fitness app know how many calories you need on any given day?

The same goes for macronutrients. There are days you may need more protein than usual (say, if you’ve just completed a really tough, arduous workout.) Maybe you need more carbs on those days, too. But sometimes you might really want #alltheavocado or feel an irrational desire for a big bowl of noodles for no reason at all. Should you dismiss these very natural inclinations in favour of some arbitrary rules around eating? I say no. If holistic nutrition promotes listening to our bodies, perhaps the best thing you can do is actually answer when it speaks. You don’t need to justify your mashed potatoes, bowl of oatmeal, cherry cheesecake, chicken salad, green smoothie, or glass of wine to anyone. 

Genetically speaking, some of us are meant to be smaller humans. At just under five-foot-two, I can assure you I was never meant to be tall, regardless of what I ate, drank, or did for my health, even if there's a six-foot-tall person inside of me sometimes ;). The same can be said for our weight, even if some feel conflicted regarding the science behind this. 

3. You avoid foods high in fat, carbs, and/or protein for non-medical reasons.

It seems like a new food is culled from the approved list with every day that passes.

In the 90s, fats were out. Forget the yolks, bacon, avocado, olives, coconut, nuts, seeds, cream, whole milk, and everything that's good in this world. Then it was carbs, general, followed by gluten, followed by all grains. Bread is bad. Sugar is bad. Corn is bad. Soy is bad. Don't drink fruit juice, but cold-pressed fruit juice is okay. Hold up: just green juice sweetened with lemon or lime. Chocolate is okay, but make it 80%. Actually, 90%. Make sure it's raw and sweetened with stevia. Eventually we'll be left with air or Jetson food and a hella lot of anxiety, neither happier or healthier than our grandparents. 

So what do you aim for? Variety, dear reader. Above all, food should be pleasurable. Food is joy. Some foods will rank higher in carbohydrate, like the potatoes you roast, tossed with capers, parsley and lemon; the frozen, overripe bananas you throw into your morning smoothie or fold into banana bread; and corn tortillas, heated over the stove and served with strong coffee that eats whatever cream you give it, slow-poached eggs, the spiciest salsa, and the sun as it rises over the park. 

Some will fall higher in fat, like the avocado you mash into the guacamole you serve your friends one hot June evening between glasses of wine and roast pork and salads dressed in lemon vinaigrette; the nut butter you eat from the spoon between projects; the red lentil curry with coconut milk; and glorious, delicious, house-smells-like-Sunday-morning bacon that crisps and spits and squirms in the cast iron pan.

And some will be higher in protein, like the tempeh stirred into spiralized zucchini noodles and the roast beef I slow cooked on Saturday with tomato paste and leftover stock made in-house at my local butcher. It’s all part of a balanced diet, and somehow, if you aim for this, I think you're going to be okay. More than okay. 

4. You tell everyone you’ve gone vegan for ethical reasons…and you’re lying about it. 

Veganism can certainly work for some people, but the approach determines its diet status. While many people do choose veganism for ethical reasons, just as many default to it for weight loss.  Animal foods become another food group you don’t have to think about or control. Suddenly, you have an excuse for declining so-and-so’s birthday cake and eating at home before joining your friends for dinner.

Whether veganism is right for you depends largely on your motivation and the stage you’re at in your intuitive eating journey (and a few other factors I’ll leave for another day.) But if you’re doing it with the hopes of weight loss or have yet to ditch the remaining threads of the diet mentality, I would hold off until you’ve healed your relationship with food before eliminating anything to avoid viewing and using veganism as another diet.

The point here: be honest with yourself. 

5. You’re eating or avoiding certain foods because you’ve been told to — and less because you want to or have legit reasons for doing so. 

Many people have very serious allergies, but many of us do not and are avoiding foods for reasons that may or may not make sense for us. Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, sugar-free, Earth-free…the dizzying array makes it hard to keep up. To complicate matters, most food sensitivity tests are not scientifically validated. While I’m not saying sensitivities and intolerances don’t exist, I've also seen people pick and pry at various foods, looking to solve problems that don't exist. I also suspect that a fear of food can create a placebo effect, convincing someone they're allergic or sensitive to foods to which they are flat-out not. 

I recommend paying attention to the way foods make you feel and making conscious decisions based on those experiences. For example, I can’t eat tons and tons of cow’s dairy — but I can comfortably enjoy a bowl of whole milk cow’s yogurt, cream in my coffee, or a serving of cheese. I also really like goat and sheep’s milk products, which I find easier to digest. Last week I discovered an amazing goat’s feta at my cheesemonger and an aged goat’s cheddar that’s out of this world. This isn’t a perfect science, but approaching food like an explorer or adventurer as opposed to a judge can really help you to select choices that feel good and help you to make peace with food. 

6. You stop eating carbs after 2pm and all foods after 6pm.

Time recommendations have “diet mentality” written all over them. Guidelines as to when to start and stop eating are usually arbitrary and not science-based. At the same time, I encourage listening to your body. If you’re not hungry when you first wake up, maybe you need to post-pone breakfast until you do, rather than eating immediately to "jumpstart your metabolism". But if you’re hungry and it’s 9pm, you might need to eat — particularly if you enjoyed a lighter dinner or if you feel your hunger will prevent you from sleeping. If I eat an early dinner I’ll often have a piece of fruit, some cheese, or yogurt before bed.

The point is: if you’re hungry, eat. There is no magic weight loss bullet. Eating breakfast is not going to save your life and eating after 6pm is not going to kill you. 

7. You avoid social situations for fear you’ll eat or drink something forbidden. 

You might still be dieting if you refuse to go out to a restaurant because there aren’t any “clean” food options. In the past I’ve been asked about what to order at restaurants or where to eat. While I love all of the options popping up in my neighbourhood — variety is the spice of life, amiright? — I also recommend eating what you actually want vs. what you think you should be eating. If you’re craving a cheeseburger, my fish recommendation won’t serve you. And if what you want is a Greek salad with chicken, perhaps my vegan restaurant suggestion won’t work. 

You might also want to consider how you’re feeling. There are times when only red meat will do, especially when my energy tanks, and times I avoid alcohol because of my workload. Today (a Monday) I really wanted Greek salad, mango, and potatoes, and tomorrow I may want an entirely different set of foods (like Cobb salad, a smoothie, and lentils). This is all part of intuitive eating. 

These days, I make the following suggestions: 1) eat what you want 2) chew your food 3) try to eat slowly so you can adequately feel your fullness 4) stop when you’re full (most of the time) 5) love your food. 

8. You stop eating when you feel you’ve had enough regardless of hunger or fullness. 

Many people are concerned about eating too much (the opposite is less common.) Myriad messages about portion size and over-eating have sent us into a tailspin, where we question if we’re overdoing it, too. Let me break this down.

For those who are working out like crazy and never satisfied, consider the possibility that you’re overexercising. But keep in mind that your appetite may increase slightly when you’re exercising as opposed to when you’re sedentary because you need more energy (calories). 

And again, if you’re hungry, eat. Even if you think you’ve had enough. Your “enough” may not actually be that much food. If you’re eating a ton of vegetables, it’s possible you’re eating a lot volume-wise, but not quite enough calorie-wise. The goal is not about counting, though — the goal is about eating food you like until you are satisfied and comfortably full (for me this is around 75-80%.) Try this experiment for yourself. 

9. You feel you need to detox or cleanse. 

In the event someone thinks I’ve forgotten my roots, I do remember where I come from (ahem, holistic nutrition.) Many people believe in nutrition-based cleanses and detoxes, but I have to respectfully disagree. Yes, certain nutrients are required for Phase I and II liver detoxification, but you can get them by eating a variety of foods. If you feel you need to cleanse/detox, ask yourself why. Whether you’ve overeaten while travelling or consumed more alcohol than usual over the summer, the answer, from my standpoint, is always the same: return to your body. Listen to your body. Show your body respect, love, and loyalty. If you’re craving lighter fare, honour that. If you feel like you’ve had too much to drink, perhaps the answer is moderating your consumption rather than latching on to a new fad diet. 

10. You experience guilt when eating delicious foods. 

Last, but never least, you're still carrying the diet mentality if you experience guilt or remorse when eating delicious food. Food is an impossibly amazing, breathtaking, joyous part of life. Sunday morning breakfasts with your family, marked by coffee and conversations that linger too long. Wine and cheese nights with your best girls. Tacos and tequila on a summer day. Picnic salads and kombucha. Homemade lemonade mid-August in your backyard. Vine-ripened tomatoes, just-picked apples, watermelon juice that runs down your face, fuzzy peaches that soften with your touch, cheese that tastes tangy and salty and like experience all at once, ice cream that melts too fast, lime popsicles and gossip, toast with honey and sea salt, and egg yolks, so private until they open. 

Darling, enjoy it all.