Why Food Restriction Doesn’t Work

If there was one thing that I wished all wellness coaches and personal trainers acknowledged and taught to their clients, it is this: food restriction does not work for a sustainable, long-term “fix” when it comes to weight loss, disordered eating, and body image issues.


In fact, studies show that food restriction and deprivation actually trigger binge eating.



Have you or your clients ever said something like, “As soon as I try to cut out a certain food, it’s all I think about.” It’s because when you implement rules around food, your mind naturally obsesses over what you can’t have. The ego just loves a reason to go into scarcity mode.


This is why it’s a bad idea to label foods as either “good” or “bad.”


The truth is that something that is good for my body may make yours go haywire. And something that may cause you to break out may not affect your client. If you or your clients are prone to “falling off the wagon” and eating “bad” foods, then you are going to internalize that – you will create stories around the fact that you have no willpower, you’re not good enough, etc.


Instead of food restriction, it’s important to learn the difference between physical hunger cues vs. emotional hunger cues. It’s also integral to strengthen that connection with body so that you can learn how eating certain foods make you feel. That is the key behind mindful/intuitive eating.



So ditch the rules and restriction. Instead, teach your clients how to feel the difference between physical vs. emotional hunger cues. Have them build awareness around how they feel when they eat certain foods, and help them tap into their intuitive knowing when it comes to making health and wellness decisions.

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