To Change Your Relationship With Food, Understand Your Body
Your body uses energy. To breathe your lungs and beat your heart and think your thoughts and live your life and complete all the innumerable, complex, beautiful processes that help your body function in this world, your body uses energy.
Since your body is always using energy, your body is constantly losing energy. And you need to replace it. In other words: you need to eat food.
You will never stop needing to eat. From the moment you were born until the moment you die, your body requires energy to function, which means you’ll never stop needing to eat.
You don’t really get a say in this — it’s simply how your body works — and you also don’t get a say in how much how much energy your body uses on a given day or how much energy your body requires to function. Your body doesn’t take your ideas or perspective (or diet or meal plan or food rules) into consideration when using energy. Your body isn’t like — I know she wants to lose weight so I’ll just help her out with that.
Nope. Your body just uses the energy it uses in the best way it can and it’s your job to refuel, no matter what.
What happens if you don’t sufficiently refuel? What are the consequences of not eating enough a.k.a. starving yourself a.k.a. dieting (which sometimes looks like eating clean)?
Your body burns calories more slowly (to conserve energy). Your body digests faster (and gets hungry again faster). Your body craves high-fat foods. Your body is hungrier (obv) and your body has less energy (obv), so your body produces less leptin (an appetite-suppressing hormone). Your body temperature is lowered (in order to conserve energy), so you’re always cold. Your body loses muscle (muscle burns more calories than fat). Your body increases enzymes that help it store fat. Your body decreases enzymes that help it release fat.
This is how your body functions. Just like you don’t get a say in how much energy your body uses, you also don’t get a say in how your body responds to not getting enough food.
Women who have fraught relationships with food and their bodies and find themselves trying to get smaller, get thin, and lose weight (and subsequently can’t help but dive head first into whatever snacky, carby thing they can get their hands on, i.e. binge-eat) are working against biology. They need to remember how their bodies use energy and how they can work with, not against, their bodies. If you struggle with food, uncontrollable eating, or weight loss, please remember:
You must eat. You’ll never not have to eat. And you must eat enough.
For women who’ve tried to lose weight for any period of time, eating in a way that honors their bodies — eating enough — is a skill. It can be learned. (Re-learned, actually. Most of us ate enough when we were younger, before we starting thinking we could skinny-ify ourselves.)
If you need help with this process, I have one coaching spot open right now and you can schedule a time to talk to me about it here. You can also learn more about it in video 2 of my training series for women who want to stop binge-eating.