• Hannah Peterman, Undergraduate Dietetic Intern

Signs You Are a Restrictive Eater


Being a restrictive eater doesn't necessarily mean that you eat tiny portions of food all the time (although this IS one form of restrictive eating). Many chronic binge-eaters have a restrictive mindset that causes them to overeat after a period of restriction. Regardless of your size or eating habits, restrictive eating can wreak havoc on your health! Increased stress levels, binge-eating, and yo-yo dieting are often the result of restriction over long periods of time. Check out the warning signs below to see if you are a restrictive eater.

Signs You're a Restrictive Eater

You’re Preoccupied with Your Weight/Size

This might mean you find yourself checking the mirror constantly, trying on clothes to see if they fit differently, or find your thoughts constantly wandering to weight-related topics. You may also catch yourself fantasizing about what your life would be like if you lost weight or if you could only stick to your exercise/diet regimen.

You Experience Food Guilt

You classify foods as good or bad, and you feel like you’ve “messed up” if you eat some of the “bad” ones. One of the few ways you’ve found to shake the shame is by eating “better” foods the next day/meal, or by exercising to make up for eating foods that make you guilty.

Weigh-ins Make or Break Your Day

Weight is an emotional topic for you, and your perception of yourself is strongly tied to what you weigh. Your mood is affected by the number on the scale, and you can go from elated to crushed depending on what the scale reads on any given day.

You Use Exercise to Get Rid of Calories

For you, exercise is more than a way to strengthen your body. It is a way to get rid of excess calories if you overindulged, or to compensate for eating food that you deem “unhealthy.” Sometimes, you may even exercise in advance if you know you are attending a party or social event and are planning to eat a calorie-dense food.

Rules Dictate Your Diet

Even if you don't follow them 100% of the time, you have rules about food. This might mean that you count calories, fat, macros, or points to dictate whether or not you are allowed to eat that second slice of pizza. Or, you might eliminate entire food groups like gluten or sugar because you tend to overeat these foods, and it feels safer to avoid them altogether.

What's the verdict? Do you struggle with restrictive eating? Maybe you restrict for a while, then "mess up" and give up entirely, only to start later on a new plan. Over time, this can be a tremendous source of stress for people! Regardless of where you are in your health journey, you don't have to be stuck forever. There are ways to break free from these unhealthy thought patterns and exhausting behaviors. And trust us, the solution is NOT another diet.

#foodguilt

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