“I don’t know what food freedom is, but I’d REALLY like some right about now!” My client tried every diet under the sun and knew it wasn’t working. She regained the weight back every time. Feeling tired, she decided to stop dieting. But that didn’t mean she felt better. In fact, her food guilt felt worse.
After every binge, she’d think: is “doing nothing” really a better alternative to a lifetime of dieting? Both options felt equally unsatisfying. Which is why I offer her, and you, a different solution entirely: food freedom.
Many believe food guilt motivates healthy habits. It shocks my clients to learn guilt is actually a pretty terrible motivator compared to my No Guilt Framework. I show clients how to use body awareness and internal values to guide their eating internally instead of punishing themselves into restriction.
Intuitive Eating proves to be a positive and long lasting way to get a hold of your eating habits, without leaning on the psychological burdens of guilt: including depression, anxiety, and disordered eating behavior.
Food freedom is especially important for women in bigger bodies, who often endure stigmatizing weight loss messages from a very young age:
- doctors who encourage weight loss, despite the ineffectiveness of most programs long-term
- bullying or teasing (including “harmless” jokes about weight) from family or peers
- being explicitly put on a diet by a parent at a young age
- limited size diversity in the media
- constant targeting from diet advertising and programs, even in the workplace
If you relate to these experiences, food freedom feels foreign, but it can be done. This post will help you understand the goals of food freedom is so you can start to imagine a better future beyond the good guilt you currently feel.
goal #1: stop living in the extremes with food
Before she signed up for group coaching and found food freedom, my client lived life by the mantra: “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we must diet!” – which is a wittier way of describing the binge-restrict diet cycle brought on by chronic dieting:
Generally, clients learn to adopt restrict-binge eating behaviors when triggered by a fear of weight gain.
Instead of swinging between extremes of eating “too much” and “too little” the goal of food freedom is “reach for the middle”. Eventually, clients learn to eat enough, most of the time. My clients learn body awareness, emotional coping, and, mindset skills to help them enter a guilt free zone of eating that feels effortless. This process begins by removing “good” and “bad” labels from food that drive the diet cycle.
goal #2: live for your values, not just to lose weight
Another client of mine would set a goals to “lose 30 pounds” every New Year. She’d organize her whole life around tracking, exercise routines, and “being good” – only to mess up, get depressed, and feel so down she’d give up feeling like a failure. All the while, she ignored the goals that really mattered most: feeling well enough to enjoy her life.
Though my own mother never told me this growing up, I knew she carried food guilt because I saw her dieting in the same way my clients do. I knew she held back from pursuing her hobbies and being more present with us because she felt her bigger body deserved to be hidden.
Weight watchers, Jenny Craig, and Richard Simmons were part of our home landscape. And back then, I didn’t have the experience I now do as a Registered Dietitian to understand: these common weight loss programs teach disordered eating behaviors. I created my program because women in bigger bodies are often encouraged to go through this pain year after year – and it doesn’t have to be this way.
Using my No Guilt Framework, my client focused on behaviors to improve her health and developed a stronger body image. She stopped weighing herself, updated her wardrobe to fit her here-and-now body.
Without the frustration of managing her diet, she felt relaxed. Inspired, even. She got a cute short hair cut she’s wanted for some time. She signed up for singing lessons. And started doing things she told herself were only allowed “when she lost weight”. Not obsessing over weight anymore helped my client to live a more purpose-driven life she feels proud of.
goal #3: respect your body
Mental health is as important as physical health, and that’s what food freedom offers: a chance to peacefully exist in your body.
Once my clients remove guilt from their experience with food, they feel motivated to explore their health goals (including nutrition and movement) in a way that reflects their values.
My clients work with me as a Registered Dietitian to define authentic health. We define the behaviors that best align with respecting their body and use goal setting to support them in taking care of their bigger bodies without restricting their diets. Their self-care goals are the same no matter their size. This practice affirms their self-worth and creates habits that feel sustainable long-term.
what does food freedom mean to you?
This post includes a just few goals my clients work toward through my No Guilt Framework; but food freedom is only yours to define! I offer group and private coaching programs that help you create a plan and practice these skills with the focus and consistency you need to FINALLY end food guilt. Apply for coaching and I’ll meet with you to describe how you can go from feeling completely stuck in the diet cycle to feeling free and peaceful around food in 3 months, just like my clients do.