May 9

Subtle Restriction Versus Satisfaction

1 comment

When I started Happy Eaters, I was still very focused on weight and body comp, so I was still subtly restricting all over the place, which then made my eating more reactive and less in line with my actual needs. I think that's all pretty normal for anybody learning (or relearning) intuitive eating after years of restrictive eating. Restriction can be difficult to even recognize, but once you're seeing it for what it is, it becomes easier to say, "I am hungry now. I do want bread with that. I believe I will have some more." It's no longer the ongoing quest to always eat as clean or as little as possible. Eat enough up front. Be satisfied. Stop thinking about food altogether. Then things get interesting. I forget to eat part of my lunch. I don't want the rest of that. I'm not interested in dessert. It's not because I'm consciously eating less to control my weight but because I'm no longer hungry. I'm not even thinking about it. That's such a new experience, to not always be heading off what I considered the faulty, deceptive desire to eat more. Turns out that urge goes completely away when I'm consistently eating until totally satisfied. Who knew?


Prioritizing satisfaction didn't result in some kind of weight gain armageddon where things felt out of control and I was miserable and disappointed in myself. Restriction has made me feel that way, like I could eat the whole world and keep eating until I exploded, so I'd better not trust myself. Satisfaction is the opposite. I'm content. Everything is good. My mind is calm. Food is a non-issue. This has been an amazing discovery. It's the thing that keeps me from ever wanting to diet or lose weight again. I used to be so tempted, by others who were dieting, by the latest book, by health news. My brain would latch onto any reason to justify restriction, but now having experienced life without it, there's nothing to go back to. I'm happier here. This food peace, body confidence, and ease in the world is what I was trying to achieve the whole time I was manipulating my food and weight. Stopping is what actually gave it to me.


I think there's this underlying message when we're trying to eat less and lose weight that, "I'm not ok. I need to fix this." That's different from genuine self-care. It's ok to want to take care of yourself and feel your best. You don't have to be disappointed in yourself and ashamed of your body in order to change. Again, newsflash! LOL That kind of drama and pressure didn't do anything good for my mindset or eating habits. It just keeps the struggle front and center.


There are so many good little nuggets in this post. I feel like I'm somewhere inbetween subtle restriction and satisfaction. I have times where my eating is solely based on satisfaction and then I'll get all scared and go back to subtle restriction. The "getting scared" is really weird. Scared of what? All irrational things. Eat enough up front. Be satisfied. Stop thinking about food altogether.

I can say that I've experienced this. And it's actually weird after years of restriction and constantly thinking about food to suddenly just not. It's very liberating. I can play with my kids without my mind drifting to the next meal or the last meal I had.


My brain would latch onto any reason to justify restriction, but now having experienced life without it, there's nothing to go back to. I'm happier here.

Yes!! Even though my mind thinks about and sometime even glamorize restriction, executing it just doesn't happen. I think about it. I sometimes even get as far as planning it all out and then I laugh and I'm like "nope. not going to happen".


I think there's this underlying message when we're trying to eat less and lose weight that, "I'm not ok. I need to fix this."

Yes! It's almost always a message about needing to fix ourselves rather than take care of ourselves. I feel the same is true of exercise programs. Just look at Girls Gone Strong! I asked which program they could recommend if I just wanted to have fun and feel goo and they had no answer for me as their programs were about losing weight, getting strong or some combination of the two. Having fun and feeling good wasn't even an option, it was all about fixing something.

New Posts
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