Food freedom sounds AmAzInG, right?! Feeling free, enjoying cupcakes without guilt, honoring your hunger & fullness and never ever resorting to a dumb diet again. BUT… what if you fail? What if it doesn’t work for you? What if you can’t stop eating donuts?!
Fear of failure can be absolutely paralyzing, and it’s something that I see often with women and food freedom. And I get it- most women have a history of dieting that held them up to unrealistic standards such as eating like a bird or eliminating more foods than you can count. After failing diets, how could food freedom workout for you? (Side note: it’s actually the diets that have failed YOU)!
For starters, it’s totally normal to fail. A lot of people have failed, actually! Colonel Sanders (KFC founder) was rejected 1009 times before someone accepted his chicken recipe. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. When I started my private practice and marketing on Instagram, my username was “corporatedietitian,” then it was “workweeknutrition,” then it was “lowcarb.nutritionist,” then it was “nutritionist.bonnie,” and then I FINALLY succeeded with “diet.culture.rebel.” I took messy action, made lots of mistakes (like promoting low carb and weight loss), but I used each failure to bring me to where I am now, helping all of you live a life of food freedom and eat without guilt, stress or shame.
Failure doesn’t show you your destination, rather it is simply a part of your journey to greatness!
Let me ask you this: Is it bad to set a goal, with the possibility of not meeting it to its entirety?
Instead of being focused solely on the outcome, learn to enjoy the journey along the way. If you fail a few times, that’s totally normal. Who wants to be perfect anyways? Use your failures as a way to grow- what worked out well, what didn’t and how can you make adjustments moving forward to yield greater success?
Intuitive eating is not a linear journey. You are supposed to fail, have ups and downs, good days with food and bad days with food. Your bad food days do not have to define you and can be a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and relationship with food. For example, if you find yourself emotionally eating, you can ask yourself what led you to that point? What emotions felt so intolerable that you wanted to cover them up? How can you handle your emotions directly moving forward, instead of turning to food?
Secondly, it’s important to understand why you are holding on to your fear of failure. I once had a client who held on to her fear of failure with intuitive eating because it was easy for her- it felt safe and it was an excuse for her to not try. She said Intuitive Eating was scary, it was hard to move out of her comfort zone, and nerve-wracking to try new strategies to improve her relationship with food. By fearing failure, she had an easy excuse for her low self-confidence and issues with food. On the other hand, we looked at how holding on to her fear of failure was holding her back from so much in life. She wasn’t happy, and if she kept doing what she was doing nothing would ever change for her.
When it comes to your attempts at food freedom, you have two options:
- Fear failure and do nothing. Play it safe but continue to struggle with your relationship with food.
- Fear failure but do something! Get out of your comfort zone, take responsibility for your happiness and health, and go to bed at peace knowing that you at least tried instead of wallowing in your fear.
If you want to live a life of food freedom, you have to try new things and change your behaviors and mindset around food. Doing this can absolutely feel nerve-wracking, but what do you have to lose? This is your life and the only person you will let down by not trying is yourself.
Get excited about your future
Thirdly, you need to get excited about your future life of food freedom! Instead of dwelling over the “what if’s” and “I probably will fails” replace that drama with positive, motivating thoughts that support your journey! It takes just as much effort to focus on positive thoughts as it does negative thoughts, so why not do yourself a favor and change that inner-dialogue in your noggin’? Your level of focus determines your level of effectiveness – if you focus solely on failure, you betcha you’ll get real effective at achieving failure! BUT, if you focus on eating without guilt, making peace with food and living a life of food freedom, you will be effective at improving your relationship with food.
Don’t be afraid to dream big and start out small. Want to wake up each morning feeling refreshed because you didn’t binge the night before? Want to say YES to spontaneous ice cream dates? Want to keep ice cream in the house without eating it all late at night? This is ALL possible, but it does take time to get there, so be patient. Instead of feeling anxious about how far away these goals feel, what if you asked yourself what one small thing you can do today, in this present moment, that will help you get there? Over time these small goals will add up and yield your end result: food freedom. Consistency is key!
You CAN do this, food freedom IS for you and you deserve it! Now, get excited because your future looks bright, Diet Culture Rebel.