“The more eating is expected, allowed, consistent, and rule free, the more your body and mind will be allowed to calm down about it.”
This is a quote by Caroline Dooner, author of The F*ck It Diet , which, if you haven’t read, I highly recommend you grab a copy. Or, if you’re like me, download it on Audible. It’ll shake up everything you’ve ever been taught about eating, losing weight, dieting, etc, and why we’ve been going about it all wrong.
You aren’t the problem; restriction is the problem
You think the problem is you- you need more willpower, more discipline, or maybe more negative self-talk to motivate you, right?
Nope, nope, nope. Restriction, dieting, and rules will only work against you and keep you feeling out of control and obsessing over every bite you take.
You see, when you restrict, you put your body in a type of famine, which means that it’s always longing for more food. You, like the rest of society, has come to view this as a shortcoming, when in reality, it’s really your body’s amazing survival skills trying to protect you.
And yes, this even applies to those who binge regularly, because what follows a binge for most people?
Restriction is not something we master. In fact, the more we do it, the harder it becomes, and the more intensely our bodies fight back with cravings and weight gain; often gaining back more weight with each diet.
The body is incredibly smart
The more diets you try, the smarter your body becomes. So, even when you were able to lose weight all those times before, after each diet you’ll probably notice that it gets harder and harder. This is because the body is preventing it.
Restriction feels threatening to your body’s survival so in an effort to hang onto it’s fat storage, it starts to use different mechanisms to operate on less fuel. It will begin to slow your metabolism and different body processes, as well as burn muscle as fuel.
Throw in the mental restriction that diets cause, and it’s no wonder you feel out of control around food or have strong cravings. Just as powerful as our bodies respond to restriction, so does our mind.
Freedom lies in allowance
It’s true. Allowing yourself to eat the foods you love, in the amounts you want, every single day is the first step to achieving peace and freedom with food.
Yes, I know it goes against everything you ever heard, but let me ask you this? Has restriction and dieting gotten you to the place you want to be? Didn’t think so. Sure as hell didn’t help me, and only kept me bingeing, obsessed, and pretty dang stressed out.
I know it can be terrifying to start eating the foods that you’ve forbidden for so, so long. As you read this, you’re probably thinking,
“If I start eating those things, I’ll never stop.”
I understand COMPLETELY because I was there for a long time. And yeah, for a little while I did want to eat bread for every meal because I spent ten years avoiding it like the plague. Amazingly, the more I ate it, the easier it became, and the more peace I felt about it.
Think about it this way- if you eat pizza every day, for each meal, for the next week what do you think will happen? Pizza will likely lose some of its allure, right? Think you may not even want to eat it come day eight?
I can almost guarantee you’ll stop fantasizing about it all day, or feel the need to devour it once you get around it. And take it from someone who binged for years- that feels friggen amazing and oh so liberating.
As we allow our forbidden foods back into our lives, we start to neutralize them. That means that all that crazy emotional power they have over us starts to fade, and we begin to feel more confident and in control while we’re eating them.
But, this can’t happen as long as certain foods are withheld, forbidden, restricted, or determined to be “bad.” Remember this- what you resist, persists.
“But won’t I gain weight?”
Maybe. Maybe not. To be honest, I don’t know what your weight is going to do. But what I DO know, is that continuing to restrict and fight your body will never get you where you want to be.
For those who have restricted on and off for a long time, your body will need an adjustment or transition period, as it has to learn to not only trust that you’ll give it food consistently, but that you won’t put it through another famine.
During this process, your body will want to hang on to everything you give it at first, again, until it trusts that you won’t take it away. Only when your body is being fed adequately can it can achieve the weight where it feels healthiest, which might be different than what you *think* it should be. Fighting against this will likely only keep you stuck.