Recently I watched an online video by a doctor who stated that we should not eat from a certain group of foods. He had a very impressive background being a surgeon, a public speaker and writer in scientific journals for many years. He also lost weight at some point in his adult life and was determined that the foods he cut from his diet played a significant role in his weight loss and in keeping it off.
I was mesmerized with the video and how professional and scientific it was. Just for fun, I googled the foods he restricts and found doctors with just as impressive backgrounds who didn’t agree with him at all. Their websites were not quite as ‘in your face’ as his, but they, too, believed that certain groups of foods are unhealthy for humans. However, their lists were completely different than the first doctor’s. I added all these foods together and realized that if I restricted every food group touted as bad by someone somewhere, I would probably end up having to eat dirt and maybe a few wild berries.
In the midst of all the hype in the media about what is good and bad for us, it is difficult to feel comfortable eating whatever you think you want. We all want to do the right thing for ourselves and our bodies. But the people we depend on for information about diet and nutrition have let us down. And I don’t mean any disrespect, but just because doctors and medical professionals have degrees behind their names doesn’t mean they understand the problem of overeating and obesity. If doctors, diets, pills, nutrition experts and exercise gurus had the magic solution to the problem of obesity, overeating and disordered eating, it would have already been solved by now!
And the reason it has not been solved is because we buy into what the ‘experts’ say. We think they know better than we do what we should eat. This is false! No one knows better what you should eat than you and your body. And once you begin to trust yourself you will understand this concept.
The first several months of my binge free journey I would second guess myself. I would hear of a new breakthrough diet or some new superfood that we should be eating and I doubted my decision to eat what I wanted. I wondered if I should go back to counting calories or trying out the new food or stop eating certain foods. When these thoughts crept up, I found myself with cravings, which made it harder to eat sensibly. In other words, thoughts of restricting portions of food (by counting calories) or thoughts of restricting certain types of foods (sugars, fats) caused me to crave more food and eat more.
I do advocate eliminating one thing from your diet, though, and that is guilt. Yes, guilt is the number one cause of the restrictive thoughts that create cravings and make you overeat. When you eat what you want, you must truly believe that you can eat anything you want now and forever after. This means you cannot worry about how many cookies you may eat now, you cannot think about eating less at the next meal or running five miles to make up for these calories. You can’t think of the cookies as a special ‘treat’ that you are only allowed to eat once in a while. You must allow yourself to enjoy the cookies for what they are and tell yourself you can eat them anytime.
Once you can do this, shame-free, you will find yourself eating a few cookies and putting the rest away. There is no urgency to eat them all now if you can eat them anytime you want. And by allowing yourself this freedom, your body will reward you by giving you a feeling of satisfaction after a couple of cookies or telling you when it doesn’t really need or want cookies, and you will grow to be repulsed by the thought of eating the whole box. You don’t believe this? Give it a try and see the amazing results.
The statement, ‘eat whatever you want’ may sound like sketchy advice, but it is the only advice that helped me to stop bingeing and overeating. And I am not the only one. There is a large presence on the internet, in books and videos stating that restricting certain foods or portion sizes does not produce the results we hope it will, and even increases our chances of eating unhealthily and gaining weight in the future. Unfortunately, some of that hype places too much importance on keeping weight down. (This warrants an entire article to itself, stay tuned.)
I don’t have the technical skills or the money to make a slick video just yet, but when I do, I will be as adamant as the doctor who wants you stay away from certain foods. But my mantra is- don’t restrict any food from your diet. I want to stand on the street corner and shout to everyone I see, “Eat what you think you and your body want and need, eat when you want, wherever you want, however you want, as much as you want, with no guilt, no shame, and watch yourself morph in to the person you have only dreamed about becoming. Free yourself from bingeing and overeating forever.” Amen.
I have stepped down from my soapbox now. Thank you for reading!
Binge free- steps to start – click here
“Food is not something to try to avoid. It is energy for your body. Give your body some credit for knowing what to do with it.” MD