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You try not to eat them,

you tell yourself you "can't" or "shouldn't,"

so you have a heightened awareness for them,

and typically, you can not control yourself when they're around.

It's basic human nature to want what you can't have.

Who wanted the guy who didn't want them back? Or who has a child who always wants your cell phone, even though they are in a room full of toys?

It's no different with food. Say you can't have it, and you typically want it more.

This is why giving yourself "Unconditional Permission to Eat" is a foundational principle in the practice of Intuitive Eating.

Since restriction and deprivation around food are the single greatest cause of binge eating and food obsession - giving yourself access to food eliminates restriction, and then eventually, binge eating fades away.

As a result, it's very common to think, "Okay, I will give myself permission to eat the cake (insert the food you fear and restrict), so eventually I will no longer want it anymore."

We think that by allowing ourselves to put the cake in our mouth we are truly giving ourselves permission.

But giving yourself permission to eat cake ONLY so you eventually do not want it, is conditional.

It's permission based on the condition that in the future you won't want it.

You're still trying not to eat it,

You're still believing that you shouldn't be eating it,

You're still fearing the food.

So you are still restricting it - this is the Diet Mentality in full effect.

And Unconditional Permission to Eat as a practice isn't truly happening.

Here is the thing, restriction is SUPER nuanced, which is why physical permission is not enough to end restriction and heal binge eating.

You also have to mentally and emotionally give yourself permission, too. Putting it in your mouth while thinking "I really shouldn't be eating this" is still a form of restriction.

I leave you with some helpful questions to ask yourself so you can discover where you specifically are getting stuck.

I hope this helps!

xo Cara

Binge Eating Recovery Resources

Does this statistic surprise you?

Like the women surveyed in the study, I used to engage in disordered eating *thinking* I was being healthy // removing entire food groups like carbs, skipping meals, extreme restriction & dieting. In many cases, purging through exercise, laxatives, pills, or vomiting.

I kept telling everyone around me I was doing it for my health, & because I wasn't severely emaciated, people admired my "health pursuit" even though *deep down* I knew it had very little to do with actual health...I wanted to be thin. i thought that's what made me valuable, loveable, and enough. I was terrified of weight gain.

And who could blame me? That is the message we've all been fed since birth. I was told that what mattered most (especially as a woman) was how closely you adhered to the arbitrary beauty standard.

Women don't engage in disordered eating at the rates they do for nothing. We do it because we’re taught that our body's appearance matters more than who we are. That beauty on the outside is more important than health & well-being on the inside. What's worse is now disordered eating behaviors are being rebranded as health, so many struggling don't even know it.

While this can feel like a really disempowering reality, I actually believe it's empowering because the way we change the culture is first to change ourselves.

We can choose to opt out. To say enough is enough.

We can heal our disordered eating, we can learn to find worth outside of our weight, and we can include mental & emotional health in our overall health pursuits.

We get to decide our value system & then work to live life in alignment with those values.

If you are currently struggling with food & body, know that healing is possible, there is another way.

If you are ready to heal your relationship with food and your body, I'd love to invite you to join me in my online course, Food Body Soul.

*Reference: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Three Out Of Four American Women Have Disordered Eating, Survey Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2008 (source)

Binge Eating Recovery Resources

To learn more about the non-diet approach to healing your relationship with food, check out my free video training series HERE.

You can also check out my podcast, Love Your Bod Pod, on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Lastly, you can also check out my books, or online course.

If we zoom out and look at the diet-binge cycle, or any unhealthy relationship with food, it pretty much always starts with body dissatisfaction.

We will see something we deem is “not okay” about our bodies, as a result of the size discrimination so prevalent in our culture, and we decide we need to control our food so we can control our weight.

So the thing that triggers the diet-binge cycle is not the food or the dieting per say, rather the intense desire to manipulate our body size that sets this whole thing in motion.

Every time I talk with a client about letting go of restriction around food they almost always rebuttal with…,

“But how will I not gain weight?”

I totally understand this response. Our fear of weight gain is what keeps us stuck in this vicious cycle.

It's why we are too afraid to let go or think that we can only let go once we get to a certain size.

Fear of weight gain is what is holding you hostage and taking away your sense of freedom.

It’s when you believe your life depends on achieving a specific body size, and that you can’t have the life you want until you lose the weight, is why this cycle continues.

Its why you can’t help but be totally consumed by thoughts of food, judging every single bite you take or don’t take, and feel like you have no choice but to control and restrict.

Because you believe in order to make it through life you must lose weight.

But, its just a matter of time before you can’t hold on any longer because the deprivation is too much to bare.

And before you know it, you find yourself knee deep in a bowl of brownie batter,

because life just happened and you NEED some freaking comfort.

When your happiness depends on being a certain weight, it’s literally the equivalent of food holding a gun to your head.

It’s now the one calling the shots. It has all the power over you.

This cycle is almost always the result of hating your body and wanting to control your weight.

So is working towards accepting your body as it is today worth it if means breaking free from food obsession?

xo C

Binge Eating & Body Image Recovery Resources

  • To learn more about the non-diet approach to healing your relationship with food, check out my free video training series HERE.

  • You can also check out my podcast, Love Your Bod Pod, on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Lastly, you can also check out my books, or online course.

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