In a diet-obsessed culture, elimination is the norm. Here’s why cueing into your body’s needs through self-awareness is a more sustainable way to live.


People today are so conflicted about how to eat.  They are eliminating particular foods from their life under the guise of “I’m being healthy” and not realizing the impact it may have: depression, obsessive and compulsive thoughts, anxiety, and uncomfortable GI side effects.  It’s also worth mentioning that dieting is one of the top risk factors for eating disorder development.  

Every day, you likely hear someone mention how they are eliminating “food group X” from their life.

And I get it.  By eliminating a food group, you don’t have to think.

Having a black and white rule that says, “you can’t eat X” gives one a (false) confidence that they can prevent their body from being the size it’s meant to be and keep them from getting a chronic disease.  

Diet culture also likes to make people feel they are informed or taking care of their health when they are eliminating something from their eating pattern.

However, there is one big problem.

Eliminating food groups may work for a bit until your natural primal instincts to nourish your body with all food groups takes over, causing you to overeat the food group or food you have been avoiding.  

But there is a more sustainable way to approach food than eliminating foods or a food group: become a competent eater.

What does being a competent eater mean?

  • Have Oreos in your house, but don’t eat an entire row of them in one sitting.  Just have a few with a glass of milk and be satisfied.
  • Don’t feel insane around carbs because you eat all food groups at every meal and don’t villainize any of them.
  • Don’t obsess around certain foods, because you are nourishing your body with meals and snacks throughout the day.
  • Eat a variety of foods and allow your body to find the size that is right for you.
  • Don’t judge yourself and give yourself opportunities to learn how to eat intuitively.  Think of it as if you’re aiming for a target: sometimes you land above the target and end up overly full.  Other times you land below the target and aren’t fully satisfied by your meal.  
  • Delete the food tracker from your phone so you can begin to shift from calorie counting( which is an external control of what you eat) to listening to your body (your internal awareness of what, how, and why you eat).

Society puts out a message that your eating patterns must be all or nothing, with many trendy eating plans simply teaching you how to restrict. But let’s face it…life is inconvenient when you are restricting yourself based around the way you eat.  

Rather, tune into your satisfaction factor, and be aware of when your intentions for eating shift from finding fullness to covering up a negative emotion. Cook sometimes eat home, and eat out when you have a craving or when it’s convenient. Eat “fun” foods and desserts regularly so you don’t feel deprived or obsessed with what you can’t have.

That sounds way better than restriction to me.

Adapted from the original article.

Kylie Mitchell, MPH, RDN, LD is a Houston-based Registered Dietitian helping individuals create a healthier relationship with food without restrictions. By promoting positive body image, Kylie is driven to stop disordered eating and help people fall back in love with a healthy relationship with food and their body. Read more from Kylie at immaEATthat.