The science behind that post-Easter candy binge

PostEasterCandyBinge

Did you binge on the Easter candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more food peace in the future.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat. Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods. Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it. On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint: Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Easter candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Are you around this food often? And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it? If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really “Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it. How often are we actually around jelly beans, peeps,  or peanut butter filled eggs? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience? This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bite to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will. To hear more, check out this Food Addiction episode of the Love Food podcast.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Hear from Evelyn Tribole directly on this episode of the Love Food Podcast. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

Healing Hint: To feel safer during Easter and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened. When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead. Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.

julie_lovefood_secondary_rgbDo you enjoy listening to podcasts and want to ditch diets? Check out mine: it was made for you!

Will I ever trust myself with sugar?

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Are you feeling lost without all your diet rules? Are you struggling with the phase of intuitive eating where you give yourself permission to eat all foods? Do you feel chaotic, scared, and exhilarated all at the same time? Are you worried that this phase is never going to end, and your relationship with food is never going to calm down? Listen now to start working through these struggles.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Episode’s Key Points:

  • When we are trying to learn a new way to eat, we have to recognize the old rules that dictated our way of eating in the past. We also need to recognize the harm that these rigid rules inflicted on our body, emotions, and relationships!!
  • The “calm” that comes with strict food rules is an ILLUSION! These rules are not nourishing or comforting.
  • This new way of intuitive eating has NO rules because our bodies are not meant to be controlled or regulated.
  • Willpower should not be associated with food intake. Instead, food intake should be thought of like a pendulum! Think about how a pendulum evens itself out… if you pull it back and allow the pendulum’s swings to peter out on their own, its movements become much less erratic. But if you continue to pull it back and don’t allow it that time to settle, it will continue to swing from one extreme to another. The more the pendulum is pulled, the more it reacts!
  • Give yourself time to heal!! Diet rules are ingrained in us from such a young age, and we have a lot of unlearning to do. This will take TIME.
  • Your brain will likely start to crave a return to diets and rigidity… notice these thoughts, but try not to act on them.
  • Be COMPASSIONATE for where you are in the moment!!
  • An eating disorder is a monster that sucks the life out of people affected, including family. Self-compassion is essential for recovery.
  • If a person is in strong recovery, settling into intuitive eating can take at least a year… give yourself time!!
  • Weight restoration: for many people in recovery, eating a lot more food during recovery to satiate the body post-eating disorder is very necessary! Gaining weight can be a super hard experience though, so be patient and kind to yourself.
  • We live in a world that considers dieting to be “normal” eating… but it’s not! Our world is dealing with its own eating disorder.
  • Food and recovery are not black and white. There is so much gray area in our intentions!!
  • Having a recovery team, including a therapist and a weight-inclusive dietitian, is essential to successful recovery.
  • Why are carbohydrates getting such a bad rep?? Every cell in our body needs glucose… which is what carbs break down into when we digest them!
  • The food addiction issue: if you feel like you aren’t allowed to eat something and eventually “give in,” it can feel like certain foods are addictive. But if you give yourself permission to eat all foods, “addictive” foods lose their power!
  • The more one is deprived of a food, the more their body is going to want to eat it!!
  • Even though intuitive eating and recovery can feel like you’re walking a tight rope without a safety net underneath you when you first walk away from dieting and eating disorders, in the long run you are pursuing healing and health!!

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series. Give me feedback via Twitter @FoodPeaceRDN.

The Love Food Podcast Episode 48 with Lauren Anton

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Do you feel like your preoccupation and shame around food and your body end up making you miss out on parts of your life? Do you feel embarrassed and judged by your size, and often find other peoples’ comments about your weight triggering? Are you a person of size trying to navigate the professional world of health and nutrition while still feeling comfortable in your own skin? Listen now for some solutions on overcoming the shame and judgment around your body size.

Subscribe and leave a review here in just seconds.

Key Points:

  • The importance of size diversity in the nutrition and dietetics profession.
  • Diets and kids: So often, kids are put on diets at a young age because they are considered “overweight.” This often does more harm than good, and ends up creating a breeding ground for a disordered relationships with food to grow.
  • Lauren Anton joins to answer the writer’s letter!
  • The unfair expectations placed on people in the health and wellness professions to look and act a certain way.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded folks who subscribe to an all-foods-fit, HAES mentality rather than people who are obsessed with food, calories, over-exercising, and dieting in order to avoid being around people who might be entrenched in weight stigma.
  • Some schools are adding advocacy and size diversity to their nutrition curriculum!
  • Weight loss is not the goal!!! Let’s be advocates of size diversity, rather than forcing everyone into one specific body type.
  • Would you say an English bulldog should look like a pit bull???? AKA, our bodies are the size and shape they are meant to be, and we should never try to force them to be something different.
  • “The body’s gonna do what it will.” – Lauren
  • How we relate to food mirrors how we relate to others and ourselves.
  • If we let judgment control our food choices, it only leads to weight cycling and a tumultuous relationship with food.
  • We must learn to love, respect, and accept ourselves!
  • Being in a larger body is not the bad thing. The way we treat and perceive the larger body is the bad thing.
  • Mindful eating and hunger/fullness techniques are not another diet!
  • Part of engaging with food is allowing joy.
  • You are worthy of nourishment no matter your size!!!

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

Click here to leave me a review in iTunes and subscribe. This type of kindness helps the show continue!

Thank you for listening to the Love, Food series. Give me feedback via Twitter @EatingPermitRD.

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This episode is sponsored by my friends at Green Mountain at Fox Run.
A special promotion for Love Food listeners:
Immerse yourself in a practice of mindfulness. Join Green Mountain at Fox Run for “Mindfulness for Women Who Struggle With Food and Body – A Meditative Retreat”, designed to help you reduce stress, eat well, move joyfully, and guide the way toward ending eating and food struggles. For dates and registration information, please visit

www.fitwoman.com/weight-loss-program-reinvented/2017-mindfulness-weekend/.

The Women’s Center for Binge and Emotional Eating at Green Mountain at Fox Run is the only clinical program in the nation solely for women suffering with binge & emotional eating. Their insurance-eligible program is backed by over 40 years of experience and is staffed by licensed clinicians. Their program has created life-altering changes by helping women to manage emotional overeating through the practice of mindfulness. For more information, visit www.fitwoman.com/binge.

The science behind that post Halloween candy binge

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Did you binge on the Halloween candy? Before you curse your will power or lack of self-control, consider the science of eating behavior. Using this evidence-based approach may help you experience more food peace in the upcoming holidays.

Don’t blame yourself for the candy binge⎯It’s really Food Habituation

Do you categorize foods as good versus bad? Labeling food this way can set anyone up to feel out of control about what to eat. Food is not an exact science. Rather than considering food as good versus bad, think of food lying on a continuum. This means there is more gray than exact black and white rules.

Folks who categorize foods as good or bad will, more often than not, experience binges on those “bad” foods. Research explains this through the science of food habituation. This type of research demonstrates that the more we’re exposed to a food, the more our brains could care less about it. On the flip side, the more unique and rare the food, the more our brains fixate on it. This promotes intense cravings, and drives us to want to eat the novel food.

Healing Hint: Instead of blaming yourself for the post-Halloween candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Are you around this food often? And, if so, do you allow yourself to eat it? If the answer to both questions is “no”, point your finger at your lack of food exposure instead of your lack of will power or self-control.

Don’t blame the food after the candy bingeIt’s really “Food Deprivation

The more we abstain from a food, the more our brains like to fixate on it. How often are we actually around Candy Corn or Tootsie Rolls? No wonder it’s so tough to stop eating them. And, when we avoid the fun food long enough, we often feel guilt-free and give ourselves permission to “indulge”.

Why does “just one bite” often lead to a binge experience? This is the basic law of food deprivation. When we’re around an avoided food, our brains light up with interest — sometimes even as far as obsession. When we finally allow ourselves a bite, it’s often hard to stop.

Some clinicians connect the one bit to binge experience as food addiction. I’ve been keeping up with this research too, yet so far, it’s flawed. Until the researchers take into account food deprivation and habituation, the research means nothing — unless people become robots without free will.

Healing Hint: Rather than blaming yourself for the candy binge, consider the science behind the experience. Have you been dieting? Have you been limiting the variety in your food choices? Have you been disrespecting hunger? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then point the finger at food deprivation.

Practice unconditional permission to eat

Allowing candy to remain around can help us navigate through different types of food. Is this too scary? You’re not alone.

There’s a way to heal this. It’s called unconditional permission to eat. When a person has true permission to choose any food, in any amount, eating according to physical hunger and fullness cues ⎯ this should be the norm. This won’t work if “permission” is tangled up with one of these familiar sabotaging statements:

  • I will just have one.
  • I will save up my calories to have candy tonight.
  • I will exercise off calories to have candy tonight.

When we view food choices with permission, we begin to experience healthy ways of relating to food. This concept is from the book, Intuitive Eating, by Tribole and Resch. Life changing work is done within the framework of eating intuitively. I encourage you to read it.

To feel safer during Halloween and other holidays, be curious as to why the binge is happening, or happened. When you hear your self-talk blaming your lack of will-power or self-control, consider the science instead. Blame diets, food rules, and body hate. Learning to experience food with self-compassion and trust will help you eat to promote health and peace.