3 Reasons People "Give Up" On Food Freedom
Food freedom is such a beautiful thing. It means that you are the one in control of your food, rather than having your food control you. It is found in detaching the idea that every single bite of food you eat should contribute to weight loss. It's found in completely changing the way you see food, see your body, and understand the PURPOSE of why you are eating in the first place.
So many people love this idea but have NO IDEA WHERE TO START! I mean, who wouldn't want to think about food less, heal their relationship with their body, and stop the compulsive, emotional, or binge eating behaviors?
This post is all about why people walk away from food freedom back to their restrictive disordered eating or diet behaviors. It's important to note that when we talk about restrictive eating and the all or nothing cycle, most people are absolutely hating that cycle, they don't go back to it because it's enjoyable, they go back to eating this way because it's "safe." There is a comfort in knowing what to expect, even if you hate it. There is a comfort to fixating on your food, because at least you think you are in control.
If you are more of an auditory learner, watch the video here!
Frustration #1 We forget that food is still information to your body.
We swing from one end of the pendulum where we are cutting out food groups and dieting every other week to the other, where now all food is allowed and we need to eat all of the foods, all of the time!
Food freedom is not eating only pizza and chips all day because you can eat whatever whenever.
True, you CAN eat whatever whenever. But one of my favorite ways to help clients reframe this is to begin eating with RESPECT. When you truly understand that your body is resilient to handle cookies and pizzas every now and then, you also have to understand that eating those foods ONLY is not the most beneficial, loving, or respectful thing to do.
We’ve spent so much time attaching a morality to food, deeming it "good" or "bad." Sometimes clients even talk about defining their DAYS as GOOD AND BAD DAYS based on if they ate foods that will help them lose weight or not. Food has been such a sore source of frustration because we believed it's the very thing that keeps us from being healthy, beautiful, valuable, etc... But food is not morality. Food is so much more powerful, more medicinal than that. Every single bite of food we take broadcasts a set of instructions to our cells.
You may find yourself feeling frustrated about how you physically feel because now that you aren't restricting food, you have no idea how to BALANCE it. You have spend so long saying no to food, that it is very common to have a phase of learning what saying "yes" should look like for you. This is actually a very normal phase of removing restriction, because food may feel way more exciting than it ever has!
In the same way, when you buy a new shirt you wear it over and over and over and over again until you realize it’s really not that exciting of a shirt! That’s what happens with our food, too. You may find yourself reaching for the cookies every single day, almost out of compulsion. Just because you can say yes to something doesn't mean you have to!
If you are intentional here, you will find that over time you are WAY more in control around food, there is little to no compulsion around it, and you are the one who makes decisions for your body, not food!
Frustration #2 We just created a new enemy to fight against.
In the past you may have viewed your body or your weight as the enemy. Diet culture teaches that your body is the enemy and you have to work to overcome your cravings, hunger, laziness, etc.. I'm so glad you now realize that your body is not the enemy, but has always been and will always be on your team! BUT NOW we have just made "diet culture" into the new enemy to fight against.
Now, you may find yourself feeling bad about ordering a salad or eating an apple because "is this dieting?"
NO! Health promoting foods are not diet foods!!! They were created for our nourishment! And just because a diet promoted them, doesn't mean they are a diet food.
It’s really hard to find your own optimal, vibrant health when you are constantly fighting an enemy. So stop fighting for a moment. Just take a step back and think about what you want your health to look like without all the labels!
Build your own health, rather than rebelling against what other people told you to do. You might come up with an incredibly fulfilling outcome!
Frustration #3 You decided to do this alone.
Think about the same cycles that were frustrating you before with your relationship to food, your relationship to your body, disordered eating, dieting, what do all of these have in common? These cycles THRIVE in isolation.
I have had clients that genuinely decided they wanted this for themselves, but decided not to tell the people closest to them. They wanted to do this for themselves, by themselves.
When you don't allow people into your health journey, your family and friends will go about their lives as if you are the same person you were before. They will offer you the same foods, make the same comments, and live the same way because they do not know what it would look like to support you in this. Most people who love you want to know how to love you best.
Have that conversation, get real with the people around you! Invite them into your health journey and even ask them to have an active role in that journey! We thrive when we have a community around us.
If you want external support, please reach out to a Keep Your Plants On Coach today! This is what we are here for, this is why we built this platform in the first place. Teaching you how to have food freedom, how to find confidence in your habits and your skin.