how to tell if I am restricting or just don't want it
Mental Health

Am I restricting, or do I just not want it?

March 13, 2023

Ryann Nicole

Hi, I’m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

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Congratulations! You’ve decided to end your restrictive ways and enter real recovery. You know that all foods fit, and nothing is off-limits. Okay, great. But now let’s say someone offers you a cookie. You know you can have it, but you’re not sure you want it, so you politely decline. Now you start to wonder, “How do I know the difference? Am I restricting or do I just not want it? Is it possible that I genuinely do not want that cookie right now?”

How do I know if I am restricting?

Don’t sweat it. After years of blindly following food rules, it can be SO confusing to know how to make food choices again! So, don’t overcomplicate it. Instead, walk yourself through these two simple steps so you can confidently answer, “Am I restricting or do I just not want it?”

Ask yourself, ”What is my intention?”

In other words, what is your honest-to-goodness reason behind choosing to opt-out of this food? Is it to be good? Or, is it to lose weight? Because you feel like you shouldn’t have it? If you're answering yes to any of those, then that’s restriction.

  • This is not listening to your body
  • This is not food freedom
  • This is not setting yourself up to feel satisfied 

But if you answered that you wanted to feel good (body, mind, soul), and this food would not do that for you, then, bravo 👏…

  • This is listening to your body rather than your mind
  • This is food freedom
  • This is setting yourself up to feel satisfied

Ask yourself, “Am I still thinking about it?”

After you make your decision, is that cookie still on your mind? Maybe you’re imagining the taste, smell, and feeling of that cookie in your mouth. If so, that’s restriction.

  • You’re left feeling unsatisfied
  • Maybe you thought you were opting out of this food to feel good, but now you realize it was driven by the thought that you needed to be good

On the other hand, is that cookie totally out-of-sight, out-of-mind? Right on, this is a sign you didn’t really want that cookie after all. 

  • You’re left feeling satisfied 
  • You’re not questioning your decision and have moved on

‘Am I restricting or do I just not want it?’

It is so normal to be unsure of your motives behind your food choices when you first dive into this life of food freedom, and it’s going to take some time to figure it out. But, using the 2 step approach above at the beginning of recovery can help you answer that burning question, “Am I restricting or do I just not want it?” Remember, the goal is not perfection. Instead, the goal is to start learning and listening to your body. So keep at it, and I promise that you and your body will be back in perfect harmony in no time.

Feeling hopeless? Dive into these juicy pod for a bit of inspiration:

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Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach