Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Stop Restricting and Start Finding Freedom with Your Diet

The Restriction Pendulum

Having a restricted food world, whether that be in macros or food categories can sometimes be more anxiety inducing than the benefit you might be getting from limiting those foods.

Does this sound familiar...

You restrict and restrict and eventually you give in, because you’re human (and it’s all you’ve been thinking about all day) and then you eat more than you normally would because you’re already breaking the rules, so you might as well go big. And then you feel guilty, you return to restriction, and the cycle repeats.


If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone! This is what we call the restriction pendulum. When you swing the pendulum back (restrict), the only natural result is to swing severely to the other side (overconsumption & lack of control around food).

The Solution: Expand Your Food World

So, if restriction doesn’t work for you, what will? The answer is simple: nourishing your body with wholesome, delicious foods that make you feel good both inside and out.

🍏 Mindset shift: Instead of “eliminate X to be healthy” Try “how many new foods can I include” — diversity is an important steppingstone on the path of intuitive eating AND eating for health.


Plus, the more variety you get, the more nutrients and healthy microbiome you’ll have. If you don’t have a sensitivity or allergy to a food, an ethical reason for avoiding it or a special professionally recommended diet you’re following, consider adding more variety to your plate.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Aim for a wide variety of foods and focus on expansion. Don’t restrict yourself to a specific food group or macronutrient count. Rather than focusing on what you can’t have, expand your shopping list to include more of the nutrient-rich foods that help your body thrive, especially vegetables. Experiment with different flavors, colors, and healthy recipes, making note of what you like and don’t like. If you don’t like peppers and bok choy that’s ok, don’t force it. But if squash and broccoli taste good, then add those to your regular repertoire while meal planning.

  • Look at the bigger picture. Change takes time. Celebrate your successes. Instead of obsessing over every morsel of food that you put in your mouth, focus on eating a balanced diet over the course of a week or a month.

  • Seek out healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at how many foods are both healthy and delicious. Have a sweet tooth? Try dark chocolate or coconut maple cashews instead of conventional candy bars. Like savory chips? Try baked beet and sweet potato chips instead of regular. Craving pasta? Try rice noodles cooked in homemade veggie stock. The point isn’t to try to fool yourself into liking something, but to simply explore all the possibilities of healthful foods.

  • Focus on self-care, not self-control. Instead of trying to control your food intake and adhere to a strict set of rules, focus on taking care of yourself. Get enough sleep, move your body in a way that feels good, and do things that make you happy and fulfilled.

Becoming An Intuitive Eater

With a bit of time, effort and tuning into your body, you can get to a place where the eating and nourishment above feels intuitive.


Intuitive eating and intuitive nourishment are about having the awareness and self-love to be able to nourish yourself with foods that make you feel vibrant, energetic, and in flow.


That awareness can start small and evolve into more nuanced knowledge about YOU and your body’s reaction to foods. In time, this will evolve into the awareness that some foods can raise inflammation, disrupt your blood sugar, upset your digestion, make you feel fatigued, anxious or down. And on the flip side, that some foods can heal and balance.

Start Your Intuitive Eater Journey Here:

  1. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat all whole foods. So instead of the pendulum being on restriction or on binge, its peacefully in the middle.
  2. Notice how these foods make you feel. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods. Do you feel energized and full of vitality, or sluggish and lethargic? Use this information to inform your food choices.


These two concepts can take time to sink in but the more you practice them, the more in tune with your intuitive eater you’ll become.

Want more help with nutrition and your unique dietary needs?

Meet with one of our expert health coaches! Trained in both nutrition science and counseling, our health coaches can help you overcome the barriers needed to meet your health goals.