Don't Diet in 2019 - Reason #28: You might find yourself double-fisting donuts in a closet

You’re just a diet away from an eating disorder.

Donuts. My love and my arch nemesis. Donuts are not low carb, low fat, or low anything else. During my dieting career I wouldn’t allow myself to have donuts…but boy did I want them, think about them, dream about them. I’d also frequently binge on them…lots of them. I was either “not allowed” to eat donuts…or eating massive quantities of them. There was no in between.

Interestingly, I never had this problem with donuts - or any other food for that matter - until I became focused on my weight and appearance and started doing strict diets and crazy cleanses.

Restrictive diets often cause more problems than they solve. It’s a bit like being in a relationship with a man you love, but who is only using you for sex: you try to stay away because you know he’s bad for you, but then he calls, you cave, and you get all you can while the opportunity is open. The next day you feel really awful and guilty, and “commit to quit”…until next time, anyway.

Sounds a bit like the relationship we can develop with food when we’re dieting, doesn’t it? Whether it’s donuts, pizza, chips, or pasta, that lover’s gonna come calling again…and if you’ve been ultra-restrictive, it’s going to be hard to resist the siren call of that cheesecake.

Research shows that extreme diets are one of the fastest ways to develop an eating disorder and/or dysfunctional habits around food. So if you’ve been dieting and suddenly find yourself alone in a closet with a large pizza and two-dozen donuts, you’ve got a problem…one that is most likely caused by self-induced starvation or having too many “food rules”.

What you should do instead…

Anti-Diet Wisdom: Binges and other “weird food behavior” are not shameful acts…they are cries for help from your brain and body. They are the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” letting you know that something isn’t right! In many cases binge behavior and food obsession will subside if you simply allow yourself to be more moderate with food. If you want a donut have a donut and be done with it! You are allowed.

Keep in mind that if you’ve been very restrictive for a long time, it can take just as long, or longer, to normalize your eating behavior - especially with “trigger foods”. The first few times you allow yourself to have a “forbidden food”, you may very well binge or overeat! Remember, your brain and body are trying to get as much as they can because they “know” you may restrict again. The key: don’t restrict again. If you overeat, eat again the very next time you’re hungry…and if you want the “forbidden food” again, eat it. You must prove to yourself - to your body and brain - that you can have it…any time you want it. I promise that the urge to overeat tapers off when you know you can have it! I hardly ever think about donuts any more, and now I can eat just one and be satisfied.

Special note: if you feel you are struggling with an eating disorder, you should seek professional help! You can also contact the National Eating Disorders Association hotline.


Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer

Learn more about the author here.