“Find food freedom” was written by soon to be Registered Dietitian Solana Faerman. Reviewed/edited by Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND.
Have You Hit Diet Bottom?
You tried paleo, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, meal plans, and seem to always be “starting again.”
If that is you, food freedom might be right for you.
Let’s dive deeper into what finding food freedom is and how you can achieve it to finally stop dieting once and for all.
Keep in mind that avoiding new restaurants, excessively focusing on clean eating, and body struggles can all remove the joy from eating.
Snapshots of What Food Freedom Is
To find food freedom means to eliminate food rules that can control your life in the slightest way or to a vast extent. This may be with fad diets, meal plans and detoxes.
Seeking food freedom means to let go of the idea that we should all be losing weight when we are thinking about our next meal or our previous one. This mentality of food for weight loss has led many people to have an unhealthy relationship with food, which is also known as disordered eating.
So, let’s remove the power food has over us.
Why Is Seeking Food Freedom Important?
As social media continues to spiral, women continue to believe their bodies must be smaller in order to be good enough for society. This leads many women, including young girls to believe they must count every calorie they consume and avoid “bad” foods forever.
It can also be stressful, disappointing, unsustainable, and can lead to emotional eating and weight gain. Furthermore, it can create an unhealthy relationship with food.
Food freedom will allow you to develop a healthier relationship with food and therefore with yourself and those around you.
How to Find Food Freedom?
You should not be ashamed if you have the desire to lose weight, we have all been there. Diet culture has led us to believe that we must lose weight to be of higher status.
So what is the key?
Shifting the focus.
Focus on long-term lifestyle changes and weight loss can potentially be the byproduct. Seeking a healthy relationship with food will permit you to attain food freedom.
Is food freedom right for you?
We must look at people’s current relationship with food but in general terms food freedom can be achieved by almost anyone. Those who are constantly thinking about their body image and food are the ones who need food freedom the most. Food freedom is the way to heal those with disordered eating patterns or diagnosable eating disorders. If you feel you are in any of these categories you should reach out to a registered dietitian who works with food freedom and intuitive eating.
Let’s go down this list to check if you have ever experienced the following:
- Dieting leading you to consume “bad” foods
- After a diet and then feel the need to go on a food binge which you eventually feel guilty about and initiate another diet
- You don’t trust yourself with food
- You feel you don’t deserve to eat certain foods
- Each time you diet you last longer and feel more restricted
If you relate to most on this list, you might want to attempt finding food freedom to see how your relationship with eating improves.
How to Find Food Freedom?
Back in the day, food freedom occurred on its own. There was no need for a term because it came naturally. Today with social media and fad diets it is harder for many to achieve food freedom. This is why it is important to give yourself permission unconditionally to eat all foods and to engage with food in a way that does not exhaust you mentally or physically. Avoiding restriction, macro tracking and finding a place where you enjoy meal times.
Becoming an Intuitive Eater & Find Food Freedom:
You can follow similar principles to become an intuitive eater and find food freedom.
Below are some simple health habits to follow to connect with your mind, body, and free yourself from those food rules (1).
- The first step is to Reject the Diet Mentality
Get rid of the diet books and websites once and for all. They continue to give you the false belief that weight loss will be a quick fix. The power of mindset will contribute to your likelihood of reaching food freedom.
- Honor your Hunger
Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Eat satisfying meals, with enough energy and carbohydrates as you need. If your body does not get enough food it will go into a survival mechanism where it stores fat for fuel for later on.
- Make Peace with Food
Allow yourself to eat the foods that you enjoy.
- Challenge the Food Police
Remember there are no “good” or “bad” foods and you are not a better person for eating lower calorie foods.
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Include a pleasureful environment around your meal times so you feel happy and satisfied with each meal.
- Feel Your Fullness
Listen to your body’s cues of fullness, stop when you are full rather than eating more or less based on external factors.
- Cope with your Emotions
Deal with ongoing emotions so you do not trigger emotional eating. Understand when you are anxious, bored or lonely.
- Respect Your Body
Body size and shape look different on everyone. Body respect is an important way of loving yourself and being content.
- Focus on Movement
Instead of focusing on exercise you might not even enjoy, focus on getting movement in throughout your day. This includes getting steps while you go to the supermarket or walking your dog.
- Honor Your Health
Select foods that honor your health and make you feel great. You will not gain weight or be unhealthy for eating one processed high sugar snack.
The term food freedom is relatively new, therefore, not enough research has been conducted. However, more research has been done on intuitive eating and its health benefits. Learning to eat intuitively can help you find food freedom.
Current research in the past year has linked intuitive eating to lower body mass index, weight maintenance, and healthier psychological attitudes (2).
Psychological improvement has been the greatest benefit noted.
Many participants in studies focused on intuitive eating improved their body image, self-esteem, and overall (3).
Multiple other studies have looked at eating behaviors and attitudes amongst women and found that those who are more attuned with intuitive eating are less likely to display disordered eating behaviors (4).
We encourage you to find your food freedom and ditch those fad-diets for long-term health and happiness. The diet industry will continue to create new diverse diets that will cause brain fog and tempt you to start again. This is why it is important to understand and apply the concept of intuitive eating to reach food freedom.
The main takeaway you must remember is there are no “good” or “bad” foods and you should never feel guilt for consuming a specific food.
New research is focusing on intuitive eating and its link to self-image and healthier attitudes toward food.
Put those years of restrictions behind you and see what the power of mindset can do and how it can establish a confident relationship between yourself and food for a long time.
Healthy eating includes listening to your body’s needs and consuming foods such as ice cream and a green smoothie all in one day.
Make this change once and for all to find a life of food freedom and body freedom.
You will find an overall better balance in your eating habits because you will eat those foods when you crave them and you will naturally avoid binge eating.
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL. She is passionate about helping women over 40 live their best lives through healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Su-Nui is a doctor in clinical nutrition, able to translate complicated evidence-based science into practical advice. Su-Nui’s charisma and warmth have made her a frequent guest on Hispanic popular morning television shows.