I once craved a banana for 6 months before I “allowed” myself to eat it. At the time, it was in my "no foods" which now seems absurd to me. Because it's a freakin' banana. I mean, yes there's fructose (aka fruit sugar) in bananas but there's also fibre and key micronutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. So go forth and eat your banana!
Restrictive diets have been my M.O. for as long as I can remember (even after attending nutrition school). But the truth is that they’re not sustainable. When we restrict what we eat so much it can actually do us harm.
Many restrictive diets end up leading to overeating because you’re not providing your body with enough nutrients that you end up in a ravenous eating frenzy that can lead to guilt and a perpetual binge eating cycle. The deprivation from restrictive diets makes you hyper-focus on foods that you are not allowing yourself to eat. Which is the major reason I don’t remove my client’s favourite foods from their diet. Love chocolate? Then let’s talk about how we can incorporate that into your weekly plan!
How to break-free from Restrictive Diets
1. Focus on adding healthy habits. Maybe instead of restricting foods from your diet, you look at how many servings of vegetables can you add today. Research has shown that increasing your daily vegetable consumption can improve your overall health and reduce the risks of developing many degenerative diseases. Need inspiration? Check out my 10-10-10 Challenge in my Free Library!
2. Tune into your hunger cues. Before each meal or snack, rate your hunger. If 1 is stomach growling hunger where you may also feel dizzy or weak and 10 is 150% stuffed from thanksgiving dinner that it’s so uncomfortable that you almost feel sick. Where on the scale do you lie? I suggest eating when you’re a 3-4 on the hunger scale. And stop eating when your 5-6 or 80% full. If you wait until you’re at a hunger level of a 1-2 then that can lead to overeating because at that stage you’re ravenous. Hunger Cues may include: feeling of emptiness in the stomach; gurgling, rumbling, or growling in your stomach; dizziness, faintness, or light-headedness; headaches; irritability or easily agitated; lack of concentration; nausea.
3. Slow down and chew! It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it's full. That means if you eat too quickly you’ll be bypassing the cues that signal you that you’re satisfied. Not only that but slowing down your meal and chewing allows you to actually enjoy your meal – your stomach doesn’t have taste buds, so savour your food while it's in your mouth.
4. Eat intuitively. Intuitive Eating promotes trusting your body’s inner wisdom to make choices about food that makes you feel good. It removes judgement associated with diet culture and strict food rules. Choose foods that energize you and make you feel good in your body more of the time. Pay attention to how your body responds to different foods and get curious. Intuitive eating includes having an awareness of which foods are supporting your body and which maybe are not.