Tell me if any of these sound familiar…
“We only have this food once a year so I’m going to eat as much as I can.”
“I have to eat this before X gets home and eats it all.”
“I don’t know when I’ll have this again, so I have to eat all of it now.”
“I’m going to start dieting [restricting] on Monday so I’m going to eat all my favorite things this weekend.”
Have thoughts similar to those above altered how you behave around food? If so, you might have a scarcity mindset when it comes to food.
Having a scarcity mindset with food means you are concerned with the availability or access to a food to the point where it alters the decisions you make. Sometimes this does come from being food insecure in the past, but a lot of us can experience food scarcity in a multitude of ways. This could lead a person to eat past fullness, eat until they are uncomfortable or sick, or eat things they truly don’t want to eat but feel like they “have to” or it’ll be gone. It creates a feeling of needing to take advantage of food or a food in the moment due to not knowing when it will be present again. One way to combat this is to let go of rules around food availability.
How to go from feeling restricted to feeling availability when it comes to food:
See the value in leftovers – you don’t have to push yourself to “eat it all now” past your hunger cues if you are willing to save some for later. Even if there is “not enough to save” for a meal, try saving it anyway for a snack.
Understand that “sometimes” foods could be made more available – make Thanksgiving food at other times during the year. Tell yourself if once the cookies are gone and you still want them you have the freedom to buy them or make them again.
You can have the food at the restaurant again. You can make the special dish again. You can eat the same meal again as leftovers or by making more.
When you realize it doesn’t have to be all now and none later you will be better able to listen to your internal cues of what is right for you in the moment. If you ever find yourself feeling “out of control” around certain foods, it may be that you don’t make them readily available enough.
Schedule a discovery call with one of our dietitian’s to see if we can help you regain that sense of control.