Food Restriction Cannot/Does Not/Will Not Lead To Happiness

I spent waaay too many years of my life obsessing over what I should and shouldn't be eating.

Giving other people the power to decide what I was allowed to eat and when -- what was "good" and what was "bad".

I was at war with myself, with food, with my body -- with life.

I was miserable.

Before I go on, let me be clear - I still believe strongly in the power of a balanced, bodybuilding style like the one I was following in the middle image. Physically, I looked and felt better than I ever even knew possible. And trust me, I've done a lot of different diets over the years. Honestly, with all the stupid paleo, keto, grapefruit, cabbage soup, weight watchers, low carb fads that pop up every few months, I don't understand why bodybuilding style diets haven't ever caught on in the same way.

I mean, there's no arguing that, when followed, the difference they make in transforming bodies is unparalleled. Nobody does weight loss and body transformation like bodybuilders. (PS. the elimination of carbs is not only not necessary, it's most definitely not better. The proof is right there in those images above. I was low carb'ing in the first one, and eating balanced meals with plenty of carbs in the second... and eating a ton of carbs in the current one) But I digress.

They are, without a doubt, the best way to lean out and transform your body and I used to give clients (less strict but) similar style plans because I wanted my clients to have the best! When they'd complain about struggling to follow it, I'd remind them, "if it's not on your plan, it doesn't go in your mouth". It's just that easy! They just needed to get stricter, want it more, work harder, I'd tell them. Because that's the message we're all being told.

The thing is though, even the best diet in the world is only effective for as long as you can actually stick to it.

Initially, the fact that I was struggling in the same ways was irrelevant to what my clients were going through. It was completely lost on me that we were struggling for the same reasons --

....the same reasons that diets (of any kind) ultimately fail 98% of the time (according the National Institute Of Health):

  • Food restriction (dieting) leads to over eating, guilt, shame, fear, lack of trust in ourselves and low self worth.

  • It cannot, will not, does not lead to happiness.

  • It cannot, will not, does not lead to teaching us how to just eat in a way that makes us happy and feel good long term.

I used to believe that if I just "kept at it" long enough that I'd get there and eventually just be able to "stick to it" without "screwing up" all the time.

I thought that if I just kept guilting and shaming myself for eating "bad" things and kept forcing myself to eat the "good" things I was told I was supposed to (whether I liked or wanted them or not) that eventually it would stick and I'd stop having those days and weeks where I'd "fall off track".

I thought it would make me learn to stop obsessing over, and bingeing on, the sour patch kids or the ice cream or the pizza... or whatever. And I thought the same thing was true of everyone else. But in the yeeearsss I spent doing that -- it never, ever did.

The harder I tried to "be good" and control everything that went in, the less control I had.

It took me a lot longer to figure out what happiness, freedom, and loving my body really took than I wish it had. And it took me longer to realize that it wasn't just me and my own weaknesses than I wish it had.

I wish I had gotten there sooner, not just for my own sake but for the sake of every single client to whom I ever echoed the same ineffective messages of "good" and "bad" foods that everyone else does.

There IS a way out -- but it most certainly doesn't involve restrictions.

I swear it doesn't. I literally eat whatever I want, whenever I want.

The food war in my head is finally over, I'm finally actually happy -- and living in a body I'm proud of.

I created cognitive eating based on the mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral strategies that changed my life because I believe you deserve to live that same freedom. Click here to learn more about it.

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About The Author

Roni Davis
Cognitive Eating Founder

Writer, Producer, Host - It's All In Your Head Podcast

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Roni Davis spent over two decades struggling with weight, food (mindless, emotional and binge eating), an eating disorder, depression, panic attacks, and an anxiety disorder. She's also been a nationally qualified champion figure athlete, written for bodybuilding websites, was featured in a national fitness magazine, by and spent almost a decade helping people transform their bodies as an award-winning personal trainer and nutrition and wellness coach.


After over two decades of her own personal weight & food struggles and almost a decade in the weight loss/fitness industry, Roni left the fitness industry and bundled everything she learned from her own recovery, from her time as a trainer & nutrition & wellness coach with everything she learned in her mindfulness-based cognitive behavior coach training, to create Cognitive Eating.  This allows her to guide and support people to live healthier lives through behavior and habit modification at the brain level, where it counts and will actually stick.

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NOTE: While counselors or therapists often use CBT to deal with mental illness or a patient’s mental/emotional conditions and/or processing trauma, MBCT & cognitive eating does not. My roll as a coach, in its most simple form, is to encourage, coach and/or act as a facilitator of a client’s self-reflection, decision making, planning for the future, and creating life changes. As an MBCT & cognitive eating coach, I am obligated to refer clients in need of mental or physical health therapy to an appropriate licensed professional.  

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