The prospect of legalizing foods on the road to “normal” eating is scary and exciting. Although granting yourself permission to enjoy foods that were formerly forbidden is exhilarating and freeing, you will get into trouble if you think that because foods are now legal, you can eat them with abandon. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The rules of “normal” eating apply to all foods, and you have to pay extra attention when eating newly legalized foods that are highly charged from your history of fearing and craving them. You’ll need to consider whether you’re hungry or hungry enough to eat. You’ll want to tune into your emotions around the food: Do you desire it, not with frantic, obsessive desperation (mouth hunger), but with a yearning that’s organically driven in term of taste, texture, and nutrients? Because a food is legal is not sole justification to eat it. If you are not hungry or hungry enough and don’t crave this exact food, eat not.
“Normal” eaters do not feel an intense, emotional attachment to food; they’re not desperate, frantic, or obsessive about eating. Food is just food and eating is a pleasant physical, not an emotionally charged, experience. Feeling frantic, driven, and desperate around food is not a reason to eat and does not bring enjoyment. Quite the opposite: These emotions generate anxiety to eat. If you have the urge to mindlessly devour a food (eg, I have to or need to eat it), ride it out. Whatever is going on is not about food!..
You will have to practice over and over (and over) managing feelings about newly legalized foods. The best way to avoid eating them for the wrong reasons is to pay exquisite attention to your feelings about them. Again, feeling desperate, driven, obsessed, frantic, or emotionally attached does not lead to “normal” eating. Remember, the goal is to strip food of affective intensity so that you can enjoy the pleasure and satisfaction it has to offer.