Dieting ruined my childhood love of muesli

This week I had a few food revelations. This is going to sound really dull on the face of it, but I ordered a jacket potato for lunch and I enjoyed it. I looked at the takeaway menu and what I really, really fancied was a jacket potato. I wanted cheese and tuna. Picture this: jacket potato, cheese on first so that it melts into the jacket, then tuna mayo on top and a salad next to it. It was the best lunch ever. It was just what I wanted at that time.

I never felt like that about jacket potatoes when I was on a diet because I was just eating the jacket potato because I had to, because that was the better option. Potatoes were free, tuna was free, salad was free. I could eat as much of it as I liked and it was an easy way to fill up and not eat into my syns for the day. But I never really enjoyed it. I had to eat it because that’s what I could have and not because that’s what I really wanted.

That’s the thing with Intuitive Eating – you eat what you really want to eat. You’re not eating based around any points system or calories or anything like that. You’re eating what you truly want to eat, what your body is telling you you want to eat in that moment.

Also, gnocchi. I never used to like that. I remember trying it years ago and thinking it’s a funny texture, it’s funny taste, it does nothing for me. I would rather make pasta. Yet because I’ve got all this food freedom now, I made this really nice gnocchi dish out of a recipe and I loved it.

My tastes have changed now. Now that I’m not restricted to having things certain foods all the time, I’m enjoying them more. Now that I’ve allowed myself to play around with food a bit and listen to my body, I know what I feel like eating at the time, and what I actually enjoy now rather than what I am told that I will enjoy. Because that’s what dieting is, isn’t it? You’re told what foods you can enjoy and you’ll learn to like the things that you can eat.

The muesli caught my eye

When I was younger, we used to have muesli in the house. I was rarely allowed to eat the muesli, but I wanted it because it used to fill me up when I ate it, and that’s why I enjoyed it. I used to hate going to school and being hungry. When I did eat it, I used to love it. The taste of it, the texture of it, how it’s soaked up the milk in the bowl, how the last few spoonfuls were, you know, this nice, stodgy breakfast.

The years go on and I’m in Diet Central, and I didn’t have muesli. It got replaced with things like Weetabix, porridge oats, low fat yoghurts, all sorts of things that were not quite hitting the mark.

Then when I started Intuitive Eating and decided to get rid of all these diets from my life for good, I started to have the foods that were not restricted anymore. Things like granola. Granola has no place on a diet plan but actually, on the whole, granola is really good because it’s grains and oats and fruit etc. 

I’ve even made homemade granola and it’s good, so full of goodness. I’ve really come to enjoy eating granola but when I was in the supermarket last week, I thought I’d go for something else, and the muesli caught my eye.

For me, food is about memories, feelings and emotions.

Eric Ripert

Oh the disappointment

Next morning, excited for my muesli, I poured myself a bowl, put a spoonful in my mouth………. and hated it. Oh, can you imagine how disappointed I was? This meal that from a young age I had loved all of a suddenly didn’t enjoy.

Now, reasons are going to be twofold. Firstly, it’s going to be because when I was younger, I put that food up on a pedestal. It was an important food because I wasn’t ever allowed to eat it. It was restricted. Therefore, I wanted it.

Secondly, I’ve come to appreciate better food. I appreciate a nice granola. Muesli doesn’t have a place in my life anymore which I’m sad about but all this really highlights to me how much restriction and dieting has messed up my thinking around food.

It’s funny to look back and reflect on all these different foods that once were just the best for me, or things that I deprived myself of because I shouldn’t eat them at any given time, and to compare them now to the foods that I really love and enjoy guilt free, because I want to eat them, not because I’m told that I have to eat them. Restriction clearly made a huge difference to how I approached food, as does the freedom I have around food now.

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Please note, this post is intended to be general information only. Every care has been taken to ensure that facts and figures are correct at the time of posting. As always, please seek the support of a registered professional before making changes to your diet or lifestyle⁠, or if you feel that you are affected by any of the topics discussed.

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