Eating less is about the quantity of food you’re eating. Restriction is about a feeling.
You absolutely can eat less without feeling restricted.
This is a very important distinction because so many people in the anti-weight loss / body positivity / intuitive eating community point to restriction as a reason you shouldn’t attempt to lose weight. However, they falsely group the two together.
Restriction is an artificial suppression of calories that works against what your body would naturally eat when you have a healthy relationship with food.
This will almost always be met with failure in the long term. There will always be pressure up against a food intake ceiling if you take this kind of outside-in approach.
Eating less, on the other hand, can be accomplished using an inside-out approach. When it’s a side effect of an improved relationship with food, it’s a natural outcome and it doesn’t have the feeling of restriction attached to it.
And no – of course eating less isn’t always the side effect of an improved relationship with food. If you’ve been eating 1,000 calories and/or undernourishing your body then eating more will be the result.
But that’s a small percentage of people. Most people are overeating as a result of their food struggles.
They are emotionally eating, engaging in binge/restrict behaviors, caught up in the weekday/weekend cycle, and mindlessly eating.
These behaviors result in you eating more. And once you work through those struggles and improve your relationship with food, you end up eating less – naturally.
You don’t feel restricted. And guess what? You lose weight.
You can have a healthy relationship with food at many different calorie intakes. It’s not static – it’s fluid.
If you suddenly start liking veggies more and that results in you displacing more calorie dense foods in your diet what do you think is going to happen?
You’re going to eat less. And what do you think will happen to your body? You’re going to weigh less.
Restriction didn’t even enter the equation.