“We don’t keep bread in the house.” “One serving is enough – kids don’t need seconds.” “We just have protein and veggies at dinner.” “Why is my child sneaking food and snacking all the time?!”
Hmmm – at first glance, these may seem like separate, unrelated statements. There is, however, a common thread and a chain reaction that is in play throughout the scenarios…and it all starts with restriction. Carb restriction, calorie restriction, food restriction. If you consider the unrelenting headlines that tell us obesity is an “epidemic”, that individual foods will either kill or save us, and the sneaking messages that lead us to think we’ll only be happy if we are sexy and skinny, then it makes some sense that people are grabbing at the latest food rule (aka, restriction), to take control of their or their kids’ lives. Yet the more we reach for restriction, the more out of control we become.
Let’s keep it straightforward. There are some basic side effects of over-controlled under-eating:
- it confuses body chemistry, triggering it to more readily lose muscle and regain weight as fat
- it causes feelings of deprivation and depression that often rebound to overeating
- it creates a lowered self-esteem, and disconnects individuals from their emotions and sense of well-being
- it creates irritability, decreases concentration and memory, (especially if carbs are limited) and causes tension in relationships
- it can disrupt a female’s menstrual cycles
- it makes exercise ineffective, because there isn’t enough fuel to run your body’s basic processes
So when you feel the need to snack on cookies and chips after the kids have gone to bed, notice if you’ve eaten enough during the day or pulled carbs out of the meal prior. We can’t function effectively if we are depriving ourselves of enough fuel – and we are destined to swing the pendulum the other direction to try to create balance.
And the next time you feel the emotional tug to try the latest fad diet, label carbs as evil or tell your kids to stop eating, take a deep breath and remember:
Eating is Normal. Restricting is Ridiculous.
Christie Caggiani, RD, LDN, CEDRD is Co-Founder and Registered Dietitian at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches in Delray Beach, Florida.