As part of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I decided to address the topic of dietary restriction – whether in terms of calories and / or types of food! In fact, I discussed it live on my Instagram account Wednesday and here is the replay available in English here! While reaching a health goal, we’re all at risk at one time or another to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Here’s why dietary restriction is never a good choice and how it affects our body:
Our body is programmed to fuel on three different sources of energy: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. By depriving it of some of these energy sources – either by eliminating foods or food groups – its efficiency to well functioning decreases. For example, our brain cells love to fuel on glucose from carbohydrates’ digestion. So by avoiding carbohydrates – like fruits and starchy foods – our energy and concentration level are suboptimal.
To lose weight, we need to create an energy deficit. But that doesn’t mean we have to restrict our body to a smaller amount of energy than it needs for survival and fuel our daily activities! There’s a huge difference between not eating enough for survival and eating “in deficit” while still meeting the needs of our body to maximize productivity!
Food restriction also puts our body in survival mode and at risk of various nutritional deficiencies! If we don’t give him what it needs – types of food AND quantity – it’ll tend to fight and preserve what we’re actually trying to let go (pssst! I’m talking about body fat here!)
- Restriction affects our behaviour on the short and long term – food obsessions and compulsions for example! In far too many cases unfortunately, the restriction translated into an eating disorder or troubled diet, unhealthy habit difficult to eliminate!
- The more we limit / avoid a food, the more we want it! Here’s an example I often use in my coaching: Imagine going back to childhood and receiving a toy – it’s ok to watch it, but not to touch it. What’s going on in your head? You obsess with the idea of being able to play with the famous toy, right? And if on the contrary, you are told to play with the toy as much as you want. It’s only a matter of time before you’re satisfied – it’s time to move on, right? It’s the same for food! The longer we wait to enjoy it – the more we’ll be obsessed and the greater the chances of binging!
I’m not suggesting to eat without limit here – I’m simply reminding you that moderation is always better than restriction!
If you have an experience or comment on the topic you wish to share, I invite you to do it! Have a nice day, Clo xx