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Focus on Your Words; Not Your Willpower

Are there certain “bad” foods you can’t control yourself around? Do you feel “powerless” and keep them out of reach because you “won’t ever stop eating them”? As a holistic nutritionist who helps people achieve food freedom, my courageous clients voice these concerns all the time.


And through my one-on-one sessions, I help them to understand that when you deprive or restrict yourself of a particular food (also known as deeming it “bad”) - the more desirable it becomes. But not only that, it’s been shown that when people who restrict their food eventually eat, food actually tastes better!


So if you’re feeling guilty for overeating “bad” foods, let’s try taking the focus off your “lack of willpower” and instead, revisit the rules you might have in place. Because by learning to let go of “good” and “bad” food labels, you’ll be able to reclaim eating autonomy.  In turn, you’ll love food again and in the amounts that satisfy you.


With May being “gluten-free month”, it can be easy to be swept up in the clever marketing that leads us to believe all gluten is bad. And while gluten is complicated and undoubtedly serious for those with celiac disease, I sometimes wonder if the stress that comes from believing a bagel is bad, is perhaps causing similar symptoms to those of gluten-sensitivity.


This is just some food for thought, of course. If you’re feeling confused, know that your body knows best! And when you’re ready to dig deeper into how your “good” and “bad” beliefs are affecting your eating experiences, I invite you to:


Give yourself permission to eat all foods. You could simply start by asking - which of my food beliefs are based in science?


Eat enough throughout the day. As a general guideline - aim to eat within one hour of waking up and avoid going longer than five hours without eating.


Practice mindfulness. Before your next meal, pause and (if you are not biologically hungry) ask: What do I need right now? (Hint – there are no right or wrong answer here, all awareness is positive.)


If these concepts are foreign, they may feel overwhelming. If so, I encourage you to start where you are. You might begin by just journaling your food rules or packing a snack to help get your nutritional needs met.


My hope in sharing how deprivation can be the door to eating past the point of comfort is to help lighten the heavy “if only I had more willpower” burden that I know so many of you carry around.  And reassure you that you’re completely capable of experiencing food peace.

Claire LeGresley is a registered holistic nutritionist on a mission to empower people to food freedom. She graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and runs her private practice in Toronto and online. Claire compassionately helps her clients rediscover their relationship with food. Her guiding principle is to start where you are. Visit www.clairelegresleyrhn.com to learn more.