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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

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