As a follow up to “The Night I had Fish and Chips and Didn’t Die” I wanted to talk about another experience I had not too long ago. It was the day I had the macaron that didn’t send me spiralling into guilt, binging, sugar crashes and addictive behaviour. For so long (years) I avoided this type of treat because I thought of it as ‘poison’. I thought even if it is ok to have one every once in awhile it doesn't matter because I have a sugar addiction and it will kick-start my addiction all over again and I will have to start at square-one. I have watched people eat macarons before, you know, those yo-yo looking French pieces of deliciousness? The thought of eating one, literally made my guts churn. I would angst over whether or not I should have one. Ultimately deciding not to because of the reasons above. For years I thought of sugar as ‘addictive’ and though many will argue with me. I thought I was the poster child for sugar addiction. It wouldn’t take much and I would gradually let sugar creep in and before I knew it I was OD’ing on cupcakes. I used to talk about how there are certain foods that are hard wired to make us unable to stop. That these foods were pretty much evil incarnate and I avoided them at all costs. But then shift happened, as it often does and I started looking at things through a different perspective. I started reading books and research that was looking more at the “why” we eat certain foods rather than the ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’ of certain foods. So many times clients come to me and express extreme guilt over decisions they have made. After some time I realised that the problem isn’t the food itself. It’s the restriction and so I started to get rid of food rules, slowly, and began to make more ‘conscious’ food choices. Let’s look at the day I had a macaron. That morning I had a smoothie with fresh veggies, avocado, berries and protein powder. Lunch was a huge salad with leftover chicken hemp oil dressing and lots of organic greens. Afternoon tea was a macaron that I ate with love with my husband after deciding yes, I do want a macaron and it’s a beautiful day for it. Then for dinner we had Mexican mince with kumara chips salsa and hidden spinach. You see what I’ve done there? If I had had macaron for breakfast lunch and dinner, yes, that could be a problem – personally I’d feel very unwell. But I didn’t. I had ONE macaron in the context of an entire day of healthy eating. Seems pretty insignificant in the context of a healthy balanced diet to me. Even if I had 3 or more it really wouldn't matter in the context of my day-to-day munchings. The most important part about eating that macaron was that I ate it from a place of love. THAT is crucial. You have two choices when eating something you might consider a treat. Option 1: You’re craving the treat, so you eat it, and then end up eating 4 because you don’t know when you’ll get another chance. Then you feel guilty, you self loathe, your pants suddenly get tighter and you basically fall off the imaginary wagon because you’ve already blown it. Option 2: You consciously choose to have the treat (after asking yourself if you really do). You enjoy every bite, saying “Thank you” for this amazing tasting food that is nourishing my soul. You enjoy the company you are having it with and you feel happy knowing you just enjoyed something awesome. Those are two VERY different scenarios with two VERY different affects on your body. As Lindsey Smith says in her upcoming book “Food Guilt No More:" “Food guilt can cause us to overeat, undereat, or develop dysfunctional relationships with food. It can take the pleasure out of mealtimes or gatherings with friends. It can lead us to hide snack stashes or sneak-eat in the car or tiptoe downstairs in the wee nighttime hours for a guilty serving of our latest indulgence.” So, does that mean that you’re “letting yourself go”? Hell no! If anything it’s the opposite, I'm letting myself live. We have so much fear of ditching food rules because we’re so afraid of gaining weight but really, having the rules really doesn’t seem to make things any better. It can’t be any worse than the binging and guilt that we feel with the rules? Allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you enjoy, consciously, with love and the right intention can help you to get off the diet roller coaster for good and finally find a place where you are healthy, happy for a lifetime! So what happened when I ate that macaron? Did my cravings return? Did I want to drive out and have another one? Nope. Nada. I'm good for awhile. I know I'll have another one when I want one truly and I enjoyed every friggen bite of the salted caramel deliciousness. I'm going to admit, this process isn't easy but with the right tools and support we can make you feel amazing for a lifetime and help you to release food guilt and anxiety so that you too can experience both health and food freedom together.