Tell me if this sounds familiar - you’re going about your day when all of a sudden a thought comes to you - “X (cookie/donut/pastry/sweet coffee drink) would be really good right now.”
Then, as soon as that thought’s finished, your Willpower steps in - “No! You can’t have that.”
How does the rest of your day go after that?
If you’re like a lot of my clients, you spend a lot of time and energy after that moment trying to satisfy that craving with foods you’re “allowed” to have. In the end, are you ever really satisfied?
Or maybe you finally do give into that craving. Just this one time, you tell yourself, and then you eat way more than you planned on, or even wanted to.
The problem with restriction is it's based on willpower, and willpower doesn't work. Willpower is basically just saying no, and human nature is to react to hearing no by automatically wanting whatever it is we can’t have.
One of the first steps to healing your relationship with food is recognizing that your appetite (and your body) is not your enemy. You do not need to vigilantly control or punish yourself for cravings, thoughts, or eating.
You don’t need to earn food. Food is not good or bad, and it’s not so serious that eating one cookie is a life or death choice. Part of living a healthy life is having those joyful moments with food.
Getting out of that diet mindset of guilt and restriction is hard, and it takes a good amount of courage to go against the grain of society. But when you shed the diet mindset and focus on self acceptance and happiness your life will be so much more fulfilling and joyful.
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.