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The One With the Cycle

“Well, you don’t think good Joe…”

In reference to the one where Joey’s fridge breaks, Chandler walks into the apartment after Joey had consumed almost all the contents of his fridge in efforts to prevent throwing them away.

As an anti-diet dietitian, I can’t help but think about “The Cycle” when I watch this scene. 

So what is “The Cycle”? It consists of 3 phases:

1. Dieting & Restriction

2. Binging & Overconsuming

3. Regret & Guilt

Do you think you’ve ever been caught in this whirlpool of a cycle? I know I have. Years ago, I would have great intentions about my health and maybe want to shed a few pounds, so I would watch my meals and snacks really well but unfortunately start to over restrict. It would all work great for a day or two, but then that one “bad food” would come around in the break room at work, or my favorite treat would be sitting on the counter at home and it becomes almost unavoidable. I instantly HAVE to have it and in a large quantity. Why though? Don’t I have any self control? Don’t I have any will power? What about my goals?

This is what’s happening:

1. I’ve restricted too much prior in the day so now I’m very very very hungry and anything higher in sugar, fat, and/or salt is going to sound absolutely divine.

2. I maybe start with just a bite or a small portion, but now I have the mindset that I can’t ever have this horrible food again because I know how “terrible it is for me”, so I better load up.

3. I haven’t been allowing myself to enjoy my favorite treats at other times so I have no sense if in this moment the treat ACTUALLY sound goods to me or not. I just know it’s in front of me so I need it.

So then afterwards, I feel guilty about eating. I feel uncomfortably stuffed like Joey. The eating experience wasn’t enjoyable. I feel guilty and think I completely ruined any progress I might have made, and think “what’s the point’ for the rest of the day and “oh well, diet starts back up tomorrow”. And the cycle starts again…

Does any of this sound familiar in your life? Are you stuck in this cycle right now? How do you start to get out of the cycle?

Your mindset has to start shifting away from the diet approach when it comes to healthy weight loss. It’s a consistent effort to erase everything the media has taught you about food up until now. 

So what does this new mindset have to include? Here are my top three things:

1. You have to get away from over restriction

2. You have to stop viewing food as either “good” or “bad”

3. You have to honor your hunger and cravings

These three areas are worth three other blog posts on their own and they can mean so many different things for everyone! We all have our own “food rules” and different relationships with food.

So my takeaway today is: if you find yourself feeling like Joey did and have the need to consume every morsel of food in front of you every so often, ask yourself if you feel stuck in “The Cycle”. 

Remember, I am always here to chat more about this topic, answer specific questions, or work with you 1:1 to find your ideal relationship with food and reaching your health and wellness goals.

Stay nourished,

Elle Merrill

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