When We Let Our Wants Guide Our Food Choices
By Molly Patrick
Dec 9, 2022,
I used to drink way more than is healthy for one human. When I was finally ready to make a change, I decided to never put alcohol in my mouth again. I’ve done this for over seven years, and it’s worked beautifully.
I don’t have to think about whether to drink or how much. That decision-making switch has been turned off because I have a self-imposed rule that I don’t drink. Boom, done.
This isn’t an option with food. Eating is kind of important if you want to, well, stay alive, which can make building better eating habits especially difficult.
I don’t think about alcohol anymore because I quit drinking, but we must think about food. And this gives the brain a ton of opportunities to fuck with us because there are so many food options available all the time.
We negotiate with ourselves: I’ll eat this donut right now and have salad for dinner.
We lie to ourselves: I could never give up cheese.
We convince ourselves: potato chips come from potatoes, I’m basically eating vegetables.
We believe our bullshit stories: I’ll never be able to eat healthy, I may as well stop trying.
When the food decision-making switch can’t be turned off, we can be like kids in a candy store (literally and figuratively), making whatever choices seem fun and pleasurable in the moment. Except we also have access to adult things, like money and cars, making impulse trips to grocery stores and drive-thrus super easy.
I’m not a food addict, but I am prone to addiction, and this is how I’ve navigated the world of food.
Please note, this is what works for me. I’m not suggesting it will work for everyone. We all have to find our sweet spot, and each journey is different.
First, I give myself permission to eat whatever I want without guilt, shame, or regret.
Whatever I want, I can have. I have no limits, rules, or boundaries about what I can or can’t eat. If you’re thinking, “What?! That would never work for me,” stay with me, this next bit is important.
I am very clear about what I want from my food:
- I want to feel good in my body and mind.
- I want to be healthy, strong, and energized.
- I want to eat food that does not come from animals.
- I want to eat in a way that helps the health of the planet.
- I want to love every aspect of my food, not just the taste.
- I want to find as much joy in eating as I get from watching a sunset.
- I want to give my body its best shot at staying healthy while growing old.
- I want to have my outside actions match my inside intentions.
- I want to be my biggest ally and fiercest protector.
- And finally, I want my choices to be made out of love, acceptance, and compassion.
Get curious about your wants
Being crystal-clear about what I want guides my food choices easily and effortlessly.
This is why I eat a whole food plant based diet most of the time.
I know what I want in my life and from my food, so I usually land on choices that play well with those wants. Not 100% of the time, but most times.
- Maybe instead of ice cream, I will make a Frothy Cacao Cooler.
- Instead of fried French fries, I might make baked french fries.
- Instead of a candy bar, I’ll make these cookies.
- Instead of cheese, I’ll make a batch of yummy plant based cheesy sauce.
Avoiding meat, dairy, and processed food isn’t hard for me. Not because I have strict rules about what I eat, but because my overall wants are greater than my desire for those foods.
This also works for me because if, once in a while, I do eat some potato chips, I don’t beat myself up. I know I didn’t do anything “wrong.” I enjoy the potato chips and I move on, making my next food choice something that is harmonious with my overall wants.
Unlike alcohol, we can’t turn the decision-making switch off for food, but for me, knowing what I want and eating in a way that supports those wants prevents this from being a problem.
What do you want?
Decide that and allow your food choices to unfold naturally. If you want help with this, I would love to invite you to my 2023 Plant Fueled Reset—a month of nourishing your body and mind while setting a solid foundation for the rest of your life.
This Reset isn’t about fasting, silver bullet solutions, or me telling you exactly what to eat.
The Reset is about learning to build a solid base of healthy habits, so you can get through hard life stuff without falling into a long-ass tunnel of cheese, booze, and donut holes.
Get curious about your wants with this worksheet, and learn more about my Reset here.
Get curious about your wants
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