• Sydney Cochran, MS, RD, LD

It's Not Lack of Willpower, It's Biology

Have you ever felt like you have no willpower when it comes to food?

I would like to give you permission to stop feeling that way. It is not due to any personal flaws or missing character traits that people end up feeling out of control around food. It’s biology.

Our bodies are built for survival. Various studies have shown that restricting calories leads to a preoccupation with food and, when you do eat, food is more rewarding and you can experience intense eating that feels out of control. This is a completely normal response to starvation, which is essentially what diets are.

Perhaps you aren’t on a “diet”, but you carefully watch what you eat in the name of health – limiting carbohydrates and/or fat or avoiding certain types of foods. The response is the same. Your body is missing out on nutrients it needs for survival and it will fight until it gets what it needs.

What happens when your body finally wins is that you end up feeling like you failed, then you vow to try harder next time, and the cycle repeats.

The cycle can be broken though. How? Stop dieting. Stop making certain foods off limits. When your body is hungry, feed it. A lot of this is easier said than done, so know when to seek help.


When you stop ignoring your body’s signals and you give yourself permission to eat all foods, you don’t end up in a situation where you’re trying to fight your body’s attempts to prevent starvation.

Guilt after eating is removed, because you recognize that food isn’t “good” or “bad” and neither are you because you ate or didn’t eat it.

Yes, it sounds opposite of everything you hear in our diet-obsessed culture but you can’t argue with science. Micromanaging your food intake deprives your body of what it needs and creates stress, neither of which improves your health.

What is one thing you can start doing to break the diet cycle and take better care of yourself?

#health #weight #bingeeating

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