Why you don't need to be in control around food!


I asked a question in my closed facebook group this weekend.....

what specific issues do you need help with? 

And I'm so glad I did, because it has allowed people to start telling me what is going on for them with food.

I've just scanned down the list of responses and one thing in particular jumps out at me. 

People think they need to be in CONTROL around food.

They are either worried about losing control or feeling bad because they've lost control. Sounds fun, huh?!

This is interesting. We think we need to be in control and what this means is think we 'must eat healthy food' because if we don't eat healthy food, like sugar for example, we lose the plot and can't stop ourselves eating whatever we can lay out hands on. Sound familiar? 

There is a lot to say about this.

Firstly, this premise is all wrong.

Contrary to what you've been told, you don't need to be in control! 

Think about it. In control sounds like a fight doesn't it? It sounds like a struggle. How about we work on being IN CHARGE instead? In charge means you get to make your own decisions. This is where the mindful piece comes in, it involves learning to look inwards rather than outwards, to be more mindful (aware) of your thought processes and your choices. If I want to eat a Portugese custard tart from my local coffee shop (!) I don't stand in the queue fighting with myself over whether to have it or not. I used to, I would have this to-ing and fro-ing in my head and I would try REALLY hard to KEEP CONTROL!!!! And would lust after the cake I wasn't 'allowed'. 

But I don't anymore. I look inwards, I think about whether I am hungry or not. If I'm hungry and that is what I REALLY want, I give myself permission to have it and I make sure I enjoy it!  If I'm not hungry but STILL want it, I have a think about why I want to eat it, then I think about whether I still want it or whether I want to buy it for later or do something else instead. 

SECONDLY the very idea of losing control, sounds to me that we don't trust ourselves.

The subtext here is fear. Fear of food, fear of putting on weight (perhaps). Fear that once we start we won't be able to stop. I understand this too but this is what diet thinking teaches us. Who has heard the statement 'Free food means you can eat as much as you like of this, so you don't get hungry?'  They tell you this one at slimming clubs don't they?! 

This teaches us to ignore our body's hunger cues and overeat in the process. If we relearn to eat in response to hunger (most of the time- this is NOT about perfection) we can manage our own food intake. We know when we are hungry and when we've had enough. Its not about needing to control, or regulate our appetite (as some would have you believe) it's about learning to respond to our innate hunger cues and nourish our body appropriately. And if you are thinking 'I never get hungry', you've probably just forgotten what it feels like! 

Thirdly, this is about what we let oursleves eat.

Part of losing control around food is a direct response to deprivation. When you diet and/or don't allow yourself to eat the things you LOVE, you set off the deprivation cycle. Your body craves what it loves and the craving gets worse and worse until you give in and have it. THEN of course, you eat more than you need. This is because you are hard wired to like certain foods and the more you tell yourself you can't have them the more you want them. The mindful approach to this is to allow yourself to have a variety of ALL foods. Over time, the cravings reduce and when you truly get your head around the fact that peanut M&Ms (or what ever floats your boat) the less you will want them!!


This is a process, don't expect to 'ace it' straight away!  Remember, it's all about self compassion too! 💕xx

My mission is to help women stop dieting because I know they don't work long term and actually make you fatter than when you started!! I do this by providing Mindful Eating and Body Image coaching either 121 or in groups.  I offer Bristol based workshops and 1-2-1 coaching in person in Bristol (and anywhere else across the globe, via Zoom) 

Let me know if you would like to join my next group of workshops that start on 6th September 2018....or if you'd like some 121 coaching.