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6 Ways You Might Be Mentally Restricting (And Hence Binge Eating)

Nov 16, 2021
woman eating salad at table

If you’ve been dieting and trying to lose weight for a while, it’s likely that diet mentality has become so normalised that you might not even realise you’re mentally restricting at times. And that mental restriction might be the reason you’re still binge eating. Sometimes the ‘diet life’ just becomes life. We forget we’re able to eat at maintenance calories without gaining weight. That’s definitely something I got caught up in for a while! Below I’ll share a list of ways you might still be mentally restricting without even noticing.



1. Cutting Out Entire Food Groups

For example, not eating carbs or starches. To a ‘normal’ eater, this would be obvious but if you’ve been calorie counting and on all sorts of diets for years, you may not realise how big of a restriction this is. 


2. Not Allowing Yourself 'Sweet Treats' or Desserts

Diet culture demonises processed sugar, heck - even sugar within fruit, so it wouldn’t be surprising if, as a chronic dieter, you don’t allow yourself sugary foods. Without full permission, it’s likely you crave sugary foods often and feel out-of-control when you do get your hands on them. The very food we restrict, is often the one we binge on. 


3. Not Allowing Yourself Your Favourite Foods for a Period of Time

For example, I used to always say "Right, you're not allowed chocolate for the next 3 months" (Spoiler alert: I'd end up bingeing on chocolate a few days later). When we instate these harsh rules on our favourite foods, it’s us saying “You’re not trustworthy with this food, so we need to cut it out entirely”. It leads to immense guilt and feelings of failure when you do break the rule.


4. Labelling Foods as ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’

When we assign moral value to food, we assign moral value to ourselves when we eat that food. E.g. If you ate lots of ‘bad’ food this week, you might say, “I’ve been so bad this week, I need to get to the gym!”. It can start small, but over years it can lead to feelings of guilt and shame when we eat ‘bad’ foods. Food is just food, it’s neutral.


5. Feeling Like You Have to Earn Food Through Exercise or Restriction

You may recall yourself thinking, “I’ve got to burn this binge off at the gym” or “I worked out today so I can have this brownie”. Reminder: You can simply eat food. Full stop. There doesn’t need to be this exchange of exercise for food. Remember that you still need food to maintain your weight and simply exist. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that we need to work off most of what we eat.


6. Telling Yourself You Can Only Have The 'Healthy' Version of Something When You Really Would Like The ‘Real Deal’

It’s ok to care for your body and eat more nutritious foods, but when it comes at the cost of bingeing on the ‘real deal’ later, is it really healthy?


This list hopefully has opened your eyes up to how you might still be mentally restricting. As always, you know I'm here to help you further. If you're ready for that support and guidance, hit this button right here to start the 30 Day Reboot course today.

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