Dietary restriction backfires. You end up feeling deprived and increasingly preoccupied with food. Suddenly you find yourself eating when not hungry or past the point of fullness. The initial goal of eating less has resulted in the opposite of desired effect.
Implied in this scenario is an underlying distrust of the body. After all, if you could trust your body to tell you what it needs there would be no need to restrict your intake.
For advice on rebuilding trust with your body, let's turn to Ellyn Satter's trust model. The Satter model emphasizes what she refers to as "eating competence" which has 4 components:
- Internal regulation: Paying attention to your sensations of hunger and fullness to determine how much to eat. Go to the table hungry, eat until you feel satisfied, and then stop, knowing another meal or snack is coming soon when you can do it again.
- Food acceptance: Enjoy your eating, eat foods you like, and let yourself be comfortable with and relaxed about what you eat. Enjoying eating supports the natural inclination to seek variety, the keystone of healthful food selection.
- Context: Take time to eat, and provide yourself with rewarding meals and snacks at regular and reliable meal times.
- Attitude: Cultivate positive attitudes about eating and about food. Emphasize providing rather than depriving; seeking food rather than avoiding it.
If you were to embody this type of eating there would be no need to restrict yourself. Hunger is your friend and eating can be enjoyable. Food is not something to be afraid of.