If I give myself permission to eat everything I’m afraid I’ll just eat junk food, how will I ever stop?

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The only reason food has so much power over you right now is because you’ve been trying to control it, depriving yourself psychologically or physically as a result. 

When you remove the restriction and allow all foods, you may feel out of control for a while (this is what we mean when we say ‘the pendulum needs to swing before it finds balance’). You might have to eat more than dieting ever led you to believe was acceptable. But then something called “food habitualization” will occur. 

This means that the more we’re exposed to a food, the less our brains care about it. Case and point: Halloween candy. If you are only exposed to certain foods for a limited amount of time AND you’re restricting and depriving yourself of those foods, you’re likely going to feel out of control once you do start eating them. But if you continue to eat the Halloween candy for a week straight, you’ll eventually get sick of it and want a salad or something. That’s just how our bodies work.

So yes, you might eat “junk food” for a while because you’ve likely been restricting “junk food” while dieting. But once the novelty of it all wears off, you’re going to crave a balanced, variety of foods just like all others who score highly on the intuitive eating assessment scale. Food will lose its power. Chocolate and green beans will have an equal emotional charge and moral implication. Sometimes you’ll want cookies. Sometimes you’ll want kale. As my toddler says “No biggie, no bonky.” 

Bridget

Author Bridget

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