In my lifetime I've been on my fair share of diets.
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I struggled with emotional eating a lot in my teenage years. I was a total binge eater. I'd be "good" one day and "bad" the next. I was always on a plan - eat paleo, eat clean, no red apple diet but green ones are ok, no nightshades, no nuts, no broccoli - no fun and absolutely miserable. I would have probably been 20-30 lbs bigger if I hadn't also been obsessed with exercise - cardio every single day + usually another workout on top of that. If I missed a day, even Christmas, I'd get down on myself. I was not anorexic or bulimic but it definitely was like a disorder because it was a complete obsession. It was completely shackling.
I remember the first time a thin friend came over after school and I asked her to look at my food diary and critique it for me, I was probably 14-15. She told me that I was crazy and that I needed to just love myself more and not be so obsessed with food. I thought she was totally patronizing me, easy for you to say you can eat whatever you want, you're skinny! It took several more years and cycles of diet binges "good" "bad" for me to realize she was right all along. I know now that the food I put into my body is a direct indication of my self respect and self love.
I've learned that my number one health check point is this: I do not binge. Ever. If I'm bingeing it's has nothing to do with the food.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
To clarify this rule let me define a binge - it's purely emotional. A binge isn't going out for ice cream, eating an extra serving of pasta ... it kicks in around the 4-5th extra serving. Also usually binge eating is done in private places, at least that was the case for me, indulging usually has people around.
I used to come home from school and attack the pantry. There was one time I ate 7 nature valley crunch bars - the double packs so technically 14. I remember thinking, "I'll be good tomorrow, I need this I had a rough day, I deserve these, I went for a long run I'm nutritionally deprived!" Looking back on that moment (and numerous other binge episodes) all I can see is a girl who doesn't respect and love herself enough to realize that she's got a problem. It's not about the nature valleys! Stop ruining yourself.
I have a way better relationship with food now. I look at it from a perspective of fuel and flavour - making choices that will make me happy and healthy.
Food addictions are so difficult because you can't get rid of it. It's not like drugs or alcohol that you can just completely eliminate, you have to live with it and learn how to work with it.
If you are struggling with your weight right now and you just read this and want to punch me in the face because I didn't give you a better rule, relax - I was absolutely there just a few years ago! Stop searching for the perfect diet plan and start to carve out what works best for you. Think back to the time in your life that you felt the healthiest and you weren't on some crazy plan and start slowly eating like that again. Keep your portions in check and try not to graze - that also gets emotional and can be a form of prolonged binge eating. Love your body, this is the only one we've got and at the end of the day I think we all can agree that we are pretty lucky just to have that gift in the first place.