After over a decade of struggle, I knew I had two choices. Either find out the real reason behind my binge eating battle and do something about it, or stay where I was forever. I chose to dig deep and get to the bottom of things.
But like the old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for…”
In my case, it was a total shock when I finally realized what was at the core of my struggle. Even worse, I had no idea what to do with what I discovered.
I thought it was about what I ate and how hard I did (or didn’t) work out. I thought that if I had the right diet, the right workout, and the right attitude, I’d slay the binging beast.
Little did I know that behind the binging was a deep sense of self-rejection.
I rejected my body. I rejected myself. I believed that I had to change my body to be worthy of anything. And changing my body meant strict dieting.
Of course, diets triggered my brain and body to obsess about food 24/7. From there, I lost all control and the binge monster won. Again.
But then I realized that my binge problem stemmed from cruel self-rejection and compulsive dieting. It was a shock to the system, to say the least.
Even scarier was the conclusion I drew after that.
Dieting lead me to binge eating. But the only way I knew how to stop binging was dieting.
How could I take back control of my body and my food, when the only trick I knew always backfired?
The thought of living my life without a strict diet was terrifying. Without a diet to keep me honest, I’d gain weight. I’d lose all control with food, and I’d gain back every ounce that I lost.
And for that matter, what would I do instead of dieting, anyway?
That “listen to your body” intuitive eating idea definitely wouldn’t work. (Because if I listened to my body, it would just say, “I want pizza,” right?)
But I did find a way to let go of diets for good, and my life changed forever. I finally made peace with my body and my food, and I’ve had the privilege of showing others how to do the same.
But how did I get past those fears that stopping a diet will trigger a food free-for-all, and how did I start making peace with my body and food?
I’ll show you why a dropping a diet doesn’t have to lead to uncontrolled eating. Read on and I’ll show you the first step to let go of fear, stop dieting, and NOT gain weight.
These days binge eating experts are talking about things like “intuitive eating” and “releasing restriction.” This is a good sign. It means that people are finally legitimately questioning diets, and seeking alternatives.
Now, the proposed diet alternatives, like releasing restriction and intuitive eating, are both powerful tools. But in a lot of ways, they’re misunderstood.
Many of our clients think that “releasing restriction” means “food free-for-all.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. So let me clarify what it really means right now.
“Releasing restriction” is not about letting yourself gorge on the foods you used to forbid. It’s not making yourself eat anything and everything just because you can.
It’s giving yourself the freedom to make choices that align with your body and your true self.
Instead of obsessing over a restrictive meal plan, you make the present moment food choices that support your well-being.
But one does not simply go from a crazy strict diet to total food freedom. There are some important steps to consider along the way.
It’s about getting your brain out of survival mode. It’s deepening the connection to your body. It’s also about shifting your belief system.
There are a lot of moving parts, for sure. But the good news is that you don’t master every single step before you can have any success at all!
There’s actually a powerful foundational step that you can implement right NOW.
The first step to Food Freedom Forever is a reframe. It’s a shift that leads you to see both dieting and releasing restrictions in a new way, and here it is…
Instead either being on a strict diet or going on a food free-for-all, consider the third option.
That option is making present-moment food choices that nourish and support your well-being.
That means connecting with your body. Asking yourself what foods would support your well-being in this moment. Then considering all the things that go into your well-being.
There’s physical well-being, like eating enough to nourish and satisfy your body. There’s also mental and emotional well-being, which is a piece that a lot of us overlook.
How does mental and emotional well-being relate to food? It’s considering the experience that you want to have with meals. It’s about being in the moment, connecting with your body, and deciding how you want to feel at mealtime.
It’s not about “emotional eating.” We’re not talking about eating to stuff down negative feelings. It’s about choosing a mealtime experience that will make you feel the way you want to feel.
Here’s an example from my own life…
Recently, I went out for Mexican food with friends. Now, Mexican food is my all-time favorite. That alone might’ve been an excuse to go on a gorge-fest and “start over tomorrow.”
But instead, I took another approach.
I checked in with myself. I asked myself how I was feeling, and how I wanted to feel. I let myself decide what I wanted the most out of this experience.
Turns out that on this night, I wanted to feel energized. I didn’t want to end up in a food coma. But I also wanted to enjoy a fun night out with friends, and without worrying about every bite.
So I made choices that supported my body, my energy, and also my sense of fun and well-being.
I ordered fajitas. I had a little chips, salsa, and guacamole with everyone else. I didn’t overdo it, and I ended the evening feeling satisfied and slightly full.
Best of all, I felt energized, connected, and I had fun with my friends!
The trick is making present moment choices. It’s taking the actions that will support you mentally, emotionally, and physically. That’s what releasing restriction really means.
Make choices from a place of connection to your body. Take action to support your well being. It’s more supportive than forcing yourself to stick to a diet, and it helps you avoid falling into the food-free-for-all gap.
This is the most empowering first step to let go of a diet without weight-gain fear. It’ll help you transition from strict diets to supportive food choices with more ease and less stress.
Not that even this transition is always easy, of course. If you’re looking for some extra support to make this life-changing shift, I’ve got a special gift for you.
Click the link below and you’ll get access to our free training! It builds on the foundational ideas here, and will help implement them with ease. Plus, you’ll learn even more tips and tricks to help you break free from binging once and for all.
Grab that training here, and get yourself on the road to Food Freedom Forever!
Now, if going through life without a strict diet still sounds to you like the fast-track to weight gain, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I know how scary it can be.
So leave me a comment below! Tell me what you learned from this post, and how I can support you in taking the next step to ditching the diet for good, and without fear.