The anti-diet construct that might help your diet-diet success.

Unconditional permission to eat,

One of the core constructs of intuitive eating,

Which importantly,

Can’t be taken in isolation from other IE constructs and principles,

Honouring hunger and fullness,

Satisfaction,

Body food choice congruence.

It’s not,

As diet culture would have you believe,

Eating everything in sight,

‘Just because you want to’.

It’s eating in alignment with our bodies,

And re-introducing neutrality around our food choices.

Unconditional permission to eat,

On paper at least,

Is very anti-diet.

How on earth can you give yourself unconditional permission to eat,

When you’re sticking to a target that by definition,

Cuts off your permission?

When I start work with any new client,

I highlight the following.

If you have macros,

You have unconditional permission to eat over those macros,

So make a choice in line with what’s most important to you.

Everyone has unconditional permission to eat,

All of the time.

This takes away the abstinence violation effect,

In other words,

The screw it mentality,

When you go over your targets for the day,

You think, ‘fudge it’ I’ve failed,

And find yourself balls deep in our friends Ben and Jerry,

Or let’s be honest,

Aldi’s superior cost-effective alternative.

It says,

You have a choice to eat that social doughnut,

Mindfully,

And move on,

Without shame or guilt,

Which both reduce our ability to act in line with our values,

And increase our chances of overeating.

What we resist, persists,

In our emotions and in our thoughts.

The moment you decide to give something up,

You want it more.

The chocolate,

The wine,

The ex.

Unconditional permission to eat stops the suppression of that craving,

The suppression that actually keeps us at the peak of the ‘want’,

And makes us more likely to relent,

Go overboard with it,

End up back in the balls of B&J’s cheaper sibling,

Or worse,

In those of an ex.

Unconditional permission to eat when dieting,

On paper is super dichotomous,

And I’m sure my opinion will be debated here,

But I believe that introducing it within the context of dieting,

Alongside many of the other IE principles,

Can promote a more healthful relationship with food when dieting,

And often,

More successful fat loss.

Because when we approach things with a want,

“I want to lose weight”

Rather than a need,

“I need to change my body”

We are more likely to make successful choices in line with our goals and values.

There was even a study in those looking to achieve fat loss,

Where people were exposed to ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ foods.

Those that ‘wanted-to’ had a more positive hedonic response to healthy food,

And a more negative response to unhealthy food.

Basically,

They wanted cake less and the veggies more.

Those that had the mindset that they ‘had-to’ lose weight?

They had the opposite results.

Is this blasphemy of the IE construct?

Possibly.

Does this matter if it supports your relationship with food when dieting,

And even your fat loss success?

Not to me.

Try it,

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat,

In line with your values,

In line with your needs,

And in line with what makes you feel good.

I’m keen to hear how it goes.

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