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Being Guided by Your Appetite Wherever You Go

  • Eating

Many disregulated eaters are wildly influenced by how folks around them eat. If people eat healthfully, they do too. If folks eat carelessly, they struggle with how to eat or give up and go with the mindless flow. Fact is, we carry our appetite with us wherever we go to always guide our eating.

I was reminded of this truth when we had friends staying with us who were about to visit other friends and remarked on the difference in eating experiences in both places. My husband and I generally eat healthfully by choosing foods which nourish our bodies and we focus on satisfying food experiences. In contrast, my friends’ other friends ate a lot of “junk” food and ignored the rules of “normal” eating. At our home, our friends enjoyed having nutritious food choices available and doing pleasurable activities with us besides eating, but were anxious about how they would eat on the next leg of their vacation which involved mostly sitting around noshing for days on end.

I hear this same lament when clients are planning a vacation or go practically anywhere beyond their front door: I’m scared I’ll overeat. How will I avoid all the temptations around me? How will I “control” myself? Which brings me to my point: Holding the mindset that you bring your appetite with you wherever you go helps you eat what and how much you want in any setting. Think about it. If you’re with friends who don’t have great ethics, do you lose yours? If they’re racist, sexist, homophobic, sleazy, or mean, do you immediately become that way too or do you hold onto your values?

When you have a strong appreciation of appetite and value feeding yourself well, it truly doesn’t matter where you go, be it a restaurant, cruise, family dinner, or buffet. Your innate appetite and desire to nourish yourself dictate how you eat. Sure, food cues might trigger your urge to join the crowd, but it’s crucial to recognize deep down that you can think for yourself. Believe me, I’m not espousing never having sweets or treats. If you eat them occasionally at home, then do the same when you’re out. If there’s some special food that calls to you, by all means, go for it. That doesn’t preclude or undo healthy eating, but is part of “normal” eating.

Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality that says once you eat something non-nutritious, you have to continue eating unhealthfully. Don’t look to out-of-the-house eating as an opportunity to go wild. Think of yourself as bringing your appetite with you just as a turtle carries its shell. It’s always there to protect you from harm.