“It’s complicated” is how I felt for a long time.
I grew up in family that loves sweets. We often baked and my mom was really great about providing me a wide variety of foods. Sweets were never inherently bad, but I remember feeling like dessert was the ultimate, pinnacle of satisfaction with eating and it was just the best best best most exciting thing ever. I often talk about how physical and mental restriction sets us up to overeat foods, but there’s another piece to the puzzle. I think over-glorification of foods sets us up to overeat and emotionally-overly-depend on foods too.
Then *cue* my eating disorder. I felt really stuck, really trapped, and really overwhelmed in this dichotomy of over and under control. Being “out of control” with food includes both over and under control. And there I was swinging back and forth, back and forth. Research shows that individuals with eating disorders have poorer emotional awareness, greater emotional suppression, and decreased ability to regulate emotions. This was absolutely true for younger Caroline. My over-and-under food choices were my attempts to escape a whole-lotta-chaos.
A few thoughts on cookie dough to offer you some reflection, validation, and possible healing…
- It’s okay to overeat cookie dough. I still do to this day. Anddddd, it’s not with the intent to numb and it’s not because I under nourish myself. It’s because it tastes freakin’ good and I give myself permission to enjoy as much as I want until my body signals “alright girly pop we’re good until next time”
- If you find yourself saying, “I am addicted to ______” or “I can’t be trusted with _______” it’s time to check in with your relationship with foods? Are you addicted to this food, or do you just find immense comfort and joy in it and other sources of comfort and joy are limited? Can you really not be trusted with this food, or do you have beliefs about this food that shapes your access and permission to this food lending to feeling out-of-control when it’s around?
- Loving sweets isn’t a bad thing. Our ability as humans to taste and delight in food is a gift annddd I know first hand how isolating, frustrating, and upsetting disordered eating can feel.
- There’s a narrative in the food freedom world that with Intuitive Eating, you no longer want or crave sweets or other foods in the same way you once did. That’s not a measure of what an awesome Intuitive Eater is. I consider myself to be an Intuitive Eater and I still usually eat dessert twice a day. I think what a better message is food may become less exciting and thrilling because it’s no longer in the “forbidden fruit” role. When literal unconditional permission is granted, dessert becomes just another food. It just happens to be another food that I really enjoy, so I have it regularly. It’s what works for me.
To my readers, your relationship with cookie dough doesn’t have to be “it’s complicated.” I promise you, I promise you.