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There’s that moment when you stop following a “diet” whether you’ve reached your goal or not. Maybe you just need a break, or maybe you’ve reached your goal and feel confident in knowing your best combination to maintain the loss.

Now it’s transition time. 

My goal weight was always 3-5 pounds lower than where I wanted to settle to give room for that gain after reintroducing foods.

“Reintroducing” is a nice way to put it.  It sounds managed and well-controlled, but it seldom was.  I might do well for a day or a week, but at some point, there was a moment of:  Oh, just a taste of this.  One serving won’t hurt.  It’s just one meal.  It’s just one day.  It’s just one week.  The emotional needs or that feeling of deprivation or extra hunger starts driving the bus, and there are so many choices.  We say it’s about feeling free around food, able to try anything, and I’ve lost so much weight, I can have this. 

Yet, it becomes a feeding frenzy.

A feeding frenzy is when you can’t regain control to make the choices you said you wanted to make.  A food frenzy is not food freedom.   It’s just a different kind of prison.

Real food freedom is being able to choose whether or not to have that food without feeling deprived or fixating on it.  It doesn’t take willpower or bargaining or planning to say no.  You are able to choose and comfortable with the choice.

How do you get there?

Some can do “Intuitive Eating” – they’ve healed enough and taken back control of food rather than letting food and emotional stuff control them, and now they feel comfortable trusting their bodies with choices and the results.  Many stop worrying about cultural demands for the skinny stick size and settle at a natural weight for their bodies.  They’re no longer driven to food for their needs, so they maintain.

Some focus on working through what drives them to food for comfort or stress relief.  That was my key – I had to take the driver’s seat again.  I used the mantra, “Face your stuff; don’t stuff your face,” to remember to recognize what was going on for me when I was trying to stuff down my feelings and follow it with a food chaser.  I faced the feelings, the memories, and the blocks – and I got free.

Some get away from processed foods or taste higher quality foods, and their taste buds recalibrate.  I used to love anything chocolate.  I couldn’t leave out a candy bowl because I’d take a piece (or two) every time I passed by it.  Then someone gave me some high-quality dark chocolate, and the stuff we buy in value or variety packs could no longer compete.  If you take the time to taste them and find you don’t like them, it’s easy to say no. 

Made me wonder what else I was eating that I hadn’t tasted in years.

We get there by challenging what we’ve done in the past and making different choices, by slowing down enough to taste and evaluate foods, by facing our stuff so we no longer need to stuff our faces for comfort and stress relief.  It takes effort and practice, but that is food freedom.

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