After yo-yo dieting and binge eating most of your adult life, eating whatever you want may seem impossible. When I first began my binge free journey, I told myself I would eat what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted. I took all restrictions off food. In case you are wondering, I did not picture myself eating ten thousand calories worth of chocolate cake every day and not gaining a pound, but I did picture myself eating meals I liked and food I wanted, including chocolate cake, with no restrictions on type of food or portion sizes.
Somehow, I knew this was the right thing to do. I was overeating at almost every meal and bingeing in times of stress. I know, it doesn’t make sense. If you want to stop eating too much, you should be able to say to yourself, “Stop eating so much.” And poof…you stop eating so much. I tried this for 25 years and it never worked, and it never will work, so why do we keep doing it? I finally gave up dieting to save my sanity and maybe even my life.
When I say the words ‘gave up,’ I don’t mean I considered myself a failure and started eating because I’ll never lose weight anyway or that food defeated me. It’s quite the opposite. I took control of my eating by allowing myself to eat what I thought my body wanted at any given time. Instead of succumbing to the food I used to restrict, I now eat my fill and it doesn’t rule me anymore.
I didn’t throw all my knowledge about nutrition out the window, but I did buy and eat foods I never allowed myself to eat in the past. It seems ironic that I eat less of those foods now than when they were restricted.
When you restrict food or even have thoughts of not eating in the future, like starting a diet on Monday, your body gets a stress signal – ‘food will be scarce.’ So, it encourages you, rather compels, you to eat more now. How many ‘last suppers’ have you had? If you do happen to thwart the compulsion and reduce your calories for any period of time, your body slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. At some point, you will give in to hunger for more calories and go off your diet, which causes you to feel guilty and eat more. There you are, back in the vicious cycle.
To stop this cycle forever is not difficult if you really want to do it. The hardest part is to be faithful to it. As with any change, you must make a concerted effort to stick with the program. This means eating cookies when you have a taste for them and not thinking of ways to make up for it later. It means telling yourself you can still eat whatever you want the next time you are hungry, regardless of what or how much you just ate. It means taking the guilt out of the eating process entirely.
Once you get used to this process and quit second guessing your decision to not diet, your body and your psyche will stop being at odds with each other. And once they get on the same side, you will feel a peace that you may have not experienced in a long time.
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“I used to ask the question -Why do I always do stuff that makes me feel guilty? When the real question is -Why do I feel guilty for the stuff I do?” MD
2 thoughts on “How To Surrender… And Win”
Thank you! I have been doing this for about 15 months now. It took me about a year to really believe I never had to diet or control my food again. But once that belief was in the core of my being, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get along each day, eat what I want and not worry about weight. I am actually losing a little weight now, but I keep that in perspective too!
It’s also very satisfying to know that my experience resonates with you!
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I love how you share your process – it resonates so much with my own. It’s so true that when you “quit second guessing your decision not to diet”, and start working with yourself rather than against, you find a peace with food you didn’t think possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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