A common mistake I see (and which I’ve made) when implementing healthier eating habits is too much restriction, whether that looks like under-eating calories or removing entire food groups.
In most cases, that only lasts so long before it results in a binge, which results in feeling awful and is counterproductive to your goal.
Here’s what I’ve seen as an effective way to escape the restrict/binge cycle:
1. Focus on real, whole foods which are naturally satiating (vs hyper palatable foods that invite you to overeat). But avoid being dogmatic. 80/20
2. Stop extreme restriction. This step takes time and involves learning to trust yourself. You’re training your brain that nothing is off limits so you don’t need to binge on it when you have the chance. It’ll be there again later when you want more.
3. Practice self compassion and self forgiveness if you “mess up” and don’t make it mean anything about you. Move on. Eat a normally at the next meal. This step is at the heart of it all. It’s how you learn self trust.
4. Send signals of physiological safety to the body that reduce the likelihood of overeating. This includes eating enough protein, carbs, and calories to be satiated, staying hydrated, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.
This issue has been coming up a lot recently in client sessions. Many people are seeking healthier eating habits this time of year, so if that’s you, hopefully this is helpful!