Restriction and deprivation around food is such a catch 22. We think we are doing the right thing by giving our body healthy food in limited amounts. However what it actually does is make us feel hungry and deprived, which leads to craving, which ultimately leads to bingeing.
When we restrict ourselves it actually has the opposite effect we want, as we crave what we’re “not allowed” and eventually binge on it.
I did this for 20 years, trying every diet known to man only to lose weight initially and quite quickly, but putting it back on again as soon as I stopped the diet. Eventually it got so bad that I was bingeing every night and over exercising every day to ensure I didn’t put the weight on. (Although I could never keep up and my weight kept going up). Eventually I was diagnosed with Depression and bulimia and shown how to eat naturally (mindfully).
One of the keys to eating naturally is to eat exactly what you want. When you know you are “allowed” anything and that there are absolutely no restrictions a strange thing happens. You actually don’t want the unhealthy food. The only reason you want it now is because you aren’t “allowed” it. This concept is extremely difficult to comprehend but I assure you it is true. Any of you with children will know that if you say “no” to a child they will say “why” and keep pestering until you finally give in. Similarly if we tell ourselves we can’t have it we keep thinking about it until we can’t stand it any longer and give in.
Now that I eat naturally with absolutely no restrictions, when something unhealthy does pop into my head I go and get it. I do not question it because this is what I truly want. The difference however is I know that my body doesn’t want a lot of salt, fat or sugar, so I will only take a small portion. I eat it slowly, thoroughly enjoying it therefore ensuring that when I finish it I am completely satisfied. Then I can happily go and do something else. I am never tempted to over indulge because I know I can have anything I want whenever I am hungry.
Accordingly I have turned the negative control of restriction into a positive control. What I mean by that is I choose to eat predominantly healthy food most of the time because it makes me feel good, gives me energy and enables me to function to the best of my ability. However I also allow myself the “treat-type” food because this makes me feel good emotionally and ensures I don’t crave it. I would estimate I eat 80% healthy and 20% not and I am very happy with that!