Lessons From Nemo: Fasting and Feasting

This past weekend, we had a major storm out here in New England. In fact, I’ve never seen so much snow at once! As I was watching Facebook, my inbox, and news reports I was intrigued with everyone’s efforts to prepare for the upcoming deluge. In fact, I found it incredibly interesting. Many people headed to the grocery store and stock piled their cupboards, fridges, and freezers (along with grabbing cash and filling up their gas tanks). 

I think this behavior has such relevance to the world of nutrition. When we fear impending famine, we stock pile “just in case.” How many of you repeat this pattern with your diets? If you have ever participated in a “diet” than you have repeated it even if you don’t know it! Creating a famine by cutting out certain foods or food groups actually triggers a natural and healthy survival mechanism to feast. This survival mechanism causes us to think obsessively and crave those forbidden items. And as many of you know from experience, when we are both psychologically and physically restricted we don’t just crave moderate amounts of those items, we yearn for COPIOUS amounts of them. And before you know it, a terrible pattern has emerged… Famine (even with the best of intentions) has set you up for feasting.

Did you know that dieting is the #1 predictor of future weight gain? If you read my blog regularly you do! Now, the hard truth is that the only way out of this vicious cycle is to give yourself permission to have the foods you want while honoring your body’s cues for hunger and fullness and navigating your emotions without using food. Figuring out how to go about this can be very challenging and take quite some time. But I can promise, the effort is well-worth it.

In my next blog post I’ll share with you an exercise to practice this concept. If you’re afraid that giving yourself permission will only make you more out of control, you’re not alone. Stay tuned. And I HIGHLY recommend buying the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
Happy eating!