• Emma Green

Why it's okay to treat yourself with food

Photo credit: Kim Burrows

When I was struggling with food, I used to only go out to restaurants where they listed the calorie information of the items on the menu. This was really limiting and meant only ever eating out at chain restaurants and eating the same types of food each time.

I called it ‘flexible dieting’ but there was nothing flexible about it. I got anxious before, during and after eating out, worrying that the calories might be inaccurate and that I would accidentally massively overeat without realising.

My mindset needed a big adjustment. Over the past several years, I’ve really worked on this and now eat all types of food without anxiety, guilt or judgement. I don’t worry about knowing the exact number of calories I’m eating, I’m not concerned about occasional overeating and I will eat out in any restaurant that sounds good, regardless of whether calorie counts are available.

This not only means that I can enjoy the food I’m eating but can also be present for the people I’m eating with because I’m not stressed about how many calories I’m eating. It is so freeing! Food should be enjoyable. It should be a way to both treat ourselves and connect with others. You can achieve neither of these things when you are preoccupied with food and the calories it contains.

It’s a cliche but life is short and you don’t want to spend your time stressing about shit that doesn’t matter. You owe it to yourself to get to a healthy place with food where it doesn’t dominate your thoughts. When you free up that space in your brain, it opens up so many possibilities!

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