If you’ve ever discussed food, eating, and dieting with me, you’ve undoubtedly heard me say, “stop dieting and eat whatever you want!”
And when I say, “eat whatever you want” I get the side eye and I’m sure nobody hears anything I say afterward.
I understand why. If you eat whatever you want you’ll lose control and gain weight because you can’t trust yourself and “once you start you can’t stop.”
Who can get away with eating whatever they want? Specially grown women who aren’t burning energy like 14-year-old boys. It’s simply not possible!
So, let me clarify.
Eating whatever you want means legalizing food not eating all the food in the world until you feel sick.
In other words, I’m not suggesting you go through the McDonalds drive through every day for every meal. If that’s what you want, so be it – you’re allowed. But I’d guess you’ll eventually feel like shit and not want it (not that it won’t taste good, but eventually your body would ask you to stop).
By definition, legalization is the action of making something that was previously illegal, permissible by law. A little extreme in this case because eating food isn’t criminal, but in your mind it is. This is because there’s a list of foods you tell yourself you can’t have because if you do, you’ll lose control – mainly, you’ll gain weight.
One of my staple off-limit foods was Oreos. Nearly every grocery trip, I wouldn’t buy them because I told myself if they’re in the house, I’ll eat the whole package. Now that they’re allowed, Oreos can last for weeks in my house. Sometimes I even forget they’re in the pantry.
Eating whatever you want means eating is allowed and it’s allowed without judgment. And it’s allowed all the time. Not just on special occasions like your birthday or anniversary but always.
But here’s the catch. Eating whatever you want doesn’t mean binging or emotional eating. There’s a difference. A major difference. I can’t emphasize this enough. It also doesn’t mean eating without regard for how your body feels.
Binging is when you eat and then feel guilty. Most people think binging is solely based on the amount of food. But not necessarily. Binging can mean eating one bread roll and feeling bad.. Typically, binging means eating a lot of something to the point of feeling sick or excessively full. But, it also means eating something you’re not supposed to and feeling guilty.
Also, eating whatever you want doesn’t mean consistently (daily) letting your emotions drive your food choices, i.e., emotional eating. Emotional eating is eating when you’re not hungry. Essentially, emotional eating is okay to some degree, but if it’s how you choose all your food at all moments, there’s something you’re not dealing with, and until you do, you’ll continue to let emotions drive your food choices.
With all this being said, I understand why there’s resistance.
The concept of eating whatever you want, and legalizing food scares you because you fear losing control and gaining weight. But here’s the kicker. If you’re a “normal” eater (meaning you don’t binge, you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, and emotions don’t drive your food choices), you’ll be at your regular weight.
There’s a fine line between allowing yourself whatever food you feel like eating and binging the shit out of eating until you feel sick and then feel guilty afterward. There’s also a difference between food allowance and emotional eating.
The goal is to eat with satisfaction and without guilt. The goal is to not binge. To feel comfortable around food and not out of control. To avoid the binge-diet cycle. To reduce emotional eating. To know your body well and understand what it wants and needs (your body not your brain, big difference).
I’m living proof you can thrive in life without dieting and without being obsessed with food. You can have a life where you don’t always have to be conscientious of your food choices.
What would your life be like if you no longer had to worry about your weight, food, or sticking to a plan?
What would it be like to go out with your friends and not obsess about what you’re eating? Or save all your daily points until dinner? Or muscle through the thirty days of whole food? What if you could just enjoy yourself?
It can be done. But it takes work. And today, you can choose. You can continue to feel out of control. You can choose to torture yourself trying to stick to a diet or food plan.
Or, you can choose to believe that there’s a different way to live. You can choose to learn what your body truly needs. You can choose to see food as neutral and available whenever you want it. You can choose to get out of this cycle.
If you’d like more information on how to finally ditch the constant torture, shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll help you find a different way to live.