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Podcast: The Freedom in Food: Escaping Diet Restrictions for Joyful Eating



Transcript to Podcast

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena. I hope that you are feeling amazing today. Today, I want to talk to you about the difference between restricting your diet and healthy eating. If you're just eating healthily and you're not eating the other stuff, aren't you just restricting your diet anyhow?

Are they not the same thing? And this is a subtle but exciting distinction. Before we dive into this, let me just tell you a little story. This morning, Easter holidays, my daughter is going to learn to do roller skating. Not roller skating, skateboarding. And so she's off to her, what they call, you know, a day trip to do some skateboarding.

Now, in the holidays, she likes to have pancakes for breakfast, which is fine on one level, but she's not the tidiest cook, and it leads to a little bit of stress in the kitchen. She gets a little bit het up, and then she doesn't tidy up. This morning she came down and she said, can I make pancakes, and I said, if you can tidy up.

After yourself, and use the kitchen in a sensible way, meaning in a calm and collected way, then you can make pancakes. Now, her first obstacle was that I had been soaking some beans in the bowl that she wants to use to make her pancake batter. Instead of taking a deep breath, she is only 11, and thinking, okay, how can I manage this?

She instantly flies off the handle. And starts screaming and shouting and everything is a disaster. She hates those beans and anyhow I have no right to be using the bowl. And you can hear, this is like, imagine I call her my princess in boots. She stroppity strop, strop, strop, strop. And I'm like, okay, you need to calm down if you want to cook in the kitchen.

Cooking, you know, requires using a hot stove and you need to calm down if you're going to be able to do that. And also, it's much easier for us to solve this problem if you can calm down. Now. Anyhow, this went on, she had several other issues, and in the end she didn't make the pancakes. But at one point, she was gonna put the beans into a different bowl.

Which is actually a perfectly sensible thing to do. Except, she was putting the beans into the bowl from a big, big strop, I hate these beans, oh my goodness, this is just awful, it's the worst thing, you're the worst mother in the world, etc, etc. Or, if she had the tools to calm down, you're Be able to calm down.

We're working on those tools. Be able to calm down, turn on her thinking brain and not her stress brain, and go, hey, do you know what? A really simple solution to this problem would be able to put the beans into another bowl and just carry on. Now, the result is more or less the same thing, but you can see that the situation around those two things are totally different.

On one hand, you have got stress, and stress, and stress, and that stress is contagious. Or you've just got, hey, this is just a thing, I'm going to do this, it's no big deal, let's just put the beans into another bowl and move on, it's not a big deal. And that analogy is similar to stress. Whether you are restricting yourself or whether you are enjoying healthy eating.

Now, it's not quite as simple as that. Don't take the analogy too far and start picking it to pieces. But in a nutshell, that is a big difference between restriction and restriction. Enjoying healthy eating. A lot of it, 80 to 90 percent of it, is inside your brain. Let's unpack this a little bit and think about the two different situations if you are thinking about, Okay, how do I get to healthy, amaze me?

How do I lose this weight? , if you are thinking of restricting, basically the story goes like this. You deny yourself being able to eat these things. You want to eat these things, but basically you say, I can't eat these things because it's going to lead to me putting on weight or not losing weight. And the problem with that is you are relying on discipline.

And what you're basically saying is, I like this but every time I come up against this decision I need to make the correct decision which is to choose not to eat that food. And that's going to work sometimes but obviously if you're stressed and tired and life is going on there's going to come a time when that doesn't work.

And the pattern of this is you can do it for a period of time and then you get to exhaustion point and your brain Just goes I can't do this anymore. This is not what I am enjoying I need to do things in a different way Which really is opening up and eating all of those things which you have then been denying yourself let's just take doughnuts and say okay.

I'm never going to eat doughnuts. Oh my goodness Actually now i'm going to eat a doughnut today because i'm allowing myself to eat doughnut and you're really using that You controlling part of your brain, push, push, push. You have to push through this in order to get the results you want. As opposed to, if you step into what I call ease and flow, there's a slightly different story.

If I give you my life as an example, I don't eat bread or cakes. I do from time to time. Like, it's not a big deal. When I do eat it, I don't make a big deal about it. I'm just like, oh yeah, I ate a cake. Or it's my son cooked a cake. Yeah, I ate a cake. But on a normal day, I have four kids. My kids like to eat bread.

They have bread for sandwiches, you know, at lunchtime. That kind of thing. And we're sitting around and there's bread there. And do I eat the bread? No. Do I feel deprived about eating the bread? No, not at all. Because my desire for the bread is low. And I am more than happy with my healthy, delicious vegetables and enjoying the food that I have.

And I don't feel deprived in any way. Now, if you take a step back and think about why I don't feel deprived, a lot of that is the mindset work that I have done. Now, do I like bread? Yes, I do like bread. If bread was as healthy as vegetables, would I eat it? Yes, I would, but that's not the case. Bread isn't as healthy as vegetables and I would rather fill my body with stuff that I know is full of good nutrients and fibre and all the stuff that I want my body to be packed full of, rather than just bread.

But as I say, it's not a big deal. I know that there is, you know, a limit. I'm not going to eat loads and loads of bread. If I have a little bit of bread, it's not a big deal. I know what my body can tolerate and what my body can't tolerate. And I know that if I start eating all of that stuff, of course I will put on weight.

My body isn't magic. If I ate loads of bread and loads of cakes, yes, I would put on weight. But the difference is that I'm not beating myself up about it, and I'm not denying myself it. I'm choosing. To not eat that food. Every single time I go and I'm in that situation I'm allowed to eat it if I want to, but actually it's easy for me to at that moment choose no, I want the healthy stuff.

I want the healthy stuff. I enjoy the healthy stuff. The healthy stuff gives me as much pleasure as the bread. Why would I choose the bread? Now sometimes I might choose the bread because I quite like to have some cheese with my salad and sometimes Cheese and bread goes nicely together. Sometimes I just eat the cheese by itself or whatever it is.

It might be hummus, it might be something else, you know, that typically goes on bread. As a side note, quite often I will have whatever it is on some vegetables or on some aubergine, some eggplant, which makes kind of a good bread substitute. A lot of it comes down to how you think about things. Now, it does get slightly more complicated because you could just claim, okay, but so if you're just healthy eating, aren't you just restricting calories?

Aren't you just doing the same thing as those other restrictive diets? And the answer is kind of complicated and it's a sort of yes and a sort of no. And one of the questions I think is really important to ask yourself when you are thinking, okay, I'm losing weight or I'm trying to lose weight and it feels like nothing is working.

What is it that I need to do in order to lose weight? And what I see a lot of people doing is they say, Hey, you know what? I eat quite healthily. Therefore it should be working. As if there are some rules that our body has to listen to and go, Okay, you're doing it this way, therefore you should get this result.

Well, but that's not how biology works. It's about understanding your body and what your body needs in order to lose weight. And that's different for different people. Some people react to glucose in a much different way than other people. And it's a long, complicated equation that nobody has. We don't exactly know why, but you know, there's lots of things that you can take into consideration.

You know, your weight, your height, your body composition, your metabolism, how energetic you are, your stress levels. All of these things combine to give you an equation that nobody really knows exactly what that equation is. The question that you really want to be asking yourself is, what do I need to do to allow my body to release the stored up energy that is in my body and use it as energy?

Which is slightly different from saying, Oh, I'm just going to reduce my calories. Because it may be that you need to reduce the amount of food that you eat. It may not be. It may be something else. It may be, Hey, do you know what? Actually, I need to deal with that stress or that lack of sleep. Or at some stage, some people need to do some exercise.

Now, the way I teach this is, is to start off with switching to healthy foods and that actually reduces your calories for the vast majority of people. But sometimes, and this doesn't always happen, but with some people there comes a stage where you know what you actually do have to decrease your portion sizes because you are eating more of the good stuff but you're eating More than your body needs, or you're eating the amount to maintain your body.

You're eating what your body needs and therefore you're not losing weight. At some stage, during the day, your body needs to be able to access the stored energy and not replace it. If you replace it, you're just back to square one. Now, does that have to be uncomfortable? No, in the long run it doesn't.

Do you have to go through some discomfort to begin with? That may be possible. You may have to get to, you may have to go through a stage where you're sort of retraining your hunger cues and retraining your mind and body to go, Hey, do you know what? This is how I'm eating now. This is a new thing. But it's not quite the same as calories in, calories out.

And on a sort of microscopic level, a cellular level, calories in, calories out works, but it's not the same as calories in, calories out of what you're eating, because we don't absorb all of the calories that we're eating, and not all calories are created equally. For example, calories from olive oil are healthy and good, but Calories from lots and lots of sugar, if you're just eating sugar, not so great.

They have a different, like, they do different things to our body. And you can get to a stage where your body's just like, I'm storing fat, I'm storing fat, I'm storing fat. And not allowing yourself to release that fat. I hope that I have highlighted to you a little bit about why there is a difference between restricting yourself and counting calories and getting to the stage where you're like actually I just enjoy this way of eating, I've created this way of eating, I know what the limits are, yes I know that if I eat loads and loads of chocolate or loads and loads of whatever it is, yes of course I'm going to put on weight.

It's not saying oh my goodness I'm magic and now suddenly I can eat exactly what I want all the time and really overeat. Another way of thinking about it, I think, is thinking about, instead of restricting yourself, thinking, how about I think it as, instead of restriction, training myself to not overeat.

Not eating more than my body needs. I'm not restricting myself, I'm giving my body what it needs, but I'm not giving it more. , I can eat whatever I want, but I'm going to eat it in small quantities, enough such that this is the amount my body needs to maintain itself, or if you want to lose weight, a little bit under that, so you're also allowing your body to, to access that energy and burn that energy.

But in a nutshell, where you want to get to is not about discipline. Discipline is a finite resource that will fail at some stage, and then when you fail, it's all doom and gloom. Stepping into ease and flow and being able to say, Oh, I enjoy what I'm doing and I choose to be able to eat. The healthy stuff, rather than the not healthy stuff.

And it's all fine, and I'm enjoying it. And it's easy, and I can keep on doing it. Now you might say to me, but every time I choose to eat the healthy stuff, actually I'd rather eat the not healthy stuff. That is a journey that you need to go on, and the more you practice choosing the healthy stuff, and really enjoying the healthy stuff, and actually really being open to the fact that the not healthy stuff is not actually as exciting as you think it is, when you really pay attention to it, Yes, you get that sugar rush.

Yes, you get the dopamine rush. But also, if you start paying attention to the flavours, and slowing down and eating and really going, Oh my goodness, actually, it was a little bit disappointing. Or, you know, yeah, I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed the first three mouthfuls and then the fourth one wasn't so good.

But really being able to pay attention to that, you actually go through a journey where you think, get to, yeah, actually, I enjoy healthy foods. Not just because they taste good, and if they don't taste good, well then you need to find recipes that you do enjoy. Also because they help me feel good. I have more energy and I can see the weight coming off me.

, for example one lady who's just done a reboot, Angela, she lost three kilograms, oh sorry, two kilograms, two kilograms in two weeks. Oh my goodness, she said, it was so amazing, it was so easy, and you know what? It just inspires me to want to eat that way. I went and I was sociable and my friends were all eating pizza and I had some vegetables and some salmon and it was great because I was so focused on wanting to reach my goal, my weight loss goal, that I just am excited about eating this way.

Why? Because I'm excited about reaching my weight loss goal. On a side note, the reboot, I have polished off the reboot and made it wonderful er and better so that you can actually purchase the reboot and just walk yourself through a reboot without having me coaching you. And I will put that in the show notes if you're interested in that.

Have a fabulous day and I hope that explains the difference between restriction and getting to a place where it's easy and fun.



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