Some like to tell me, “I’m not on a diet.” Then they launch into their food rules.
What is a diet anyway?
The way I see it, a diet is anything that restricts how much you can eat. When we go past normal hunger into primal hunger (can’t think straight, stomach growling, possible headache), we begin to obsess over food and will usually eat ANY AND EVERYTHING in a rush without regard to taste, nutrition or amounts.
A diet is also anything that labels foods good and bad and takes the pleasure from eating.
How this leads to binge eating
When you restrict foods you desire, often times we will use a substitute i.e. fruit for chocolate or rice cakes when you want potato chips. Sometimes that works. When that doesn’t do the trick we either eat the thing we were restricting in excess, telling ourselves that we have no control around (chocolate, Oreos, potato chips, etc.) because it “tastes so good”. But what REALLY happened is that we restricted what we wanted, so the next time we have access to it we OVEREAT it. Couple that with beating ourselves up for not having any willpower around that thing and it leads to a cycle of binge-restrict.
What to do about it
I am going to tell you a secret. This is YOUR body. You are grown and allowed to eat whatever you want. Now, this may mean that you CHOOSE to eat certain things because you want to physically feel good (not feel good about yourself) and CHOOSE not to eat others because they: don’t agree with your stomach, give you a headache or terrible gas (not make you fat). You are not helpless in this matter. When you make the choice based on reasons that make you feel good, versus ones that make you feel bad, you get to take your power back.
The “I’ll be Good Tomorrow” Trap
How many times have you found yourself being “good” all day until you get home? Or until the unexpected call from a friend for lunch? The food looks so good that you eat what you want the completely find yourself at the bottom of the bag of whatever or at the drive-through because “I’ve already messed up now, so I’d better get it in, because tomorrow is a new day.” Except, tomorrow you don’t “feel like” packing your lunch and one day turns into two, then a week, then several months.
Each meal is a choice. When we choose to think that we have eaten means we are bad or have done something bad and have to pay for it by being “good” tomorrow, it sets us up to eat everything that we even THINK we won’t get to have again, because after all, we have to be “good” to lose this weight.
Reflect on the possibility that you may be overeating because you have been restricting and have an internal sense of “not enough”. Or have been thinking, I gotta get it in while I can, because tomorrow I’ll be good. What about eating that thing today makes you bad? Will ONE (1) meal-snack-or day really make you fat? And if we have done nothing bad and there is nothing to restrict ,is it possible that we can save some of that thing for another time?