Have you ever been on your best dieting streak, feeling confident in all your hard work, and then a friend asks you: “let’s go get dinner.” The fear sinks in and you start battling: “But I can’t go out because I’ll ruin my diet.” “They’ll understand if I skip out again.” “I could just eat before and go to please my friend” “I’ll just get a salad and maybe we can split an appetizer.” “Screw it, I’ll just go out and splurge.” It’s unbelievable how many people are guilty of the above scenario. If you’ve ever tried dieting, you know very well, all of these thoughts flood your brain. I’ve been there, I’ve blown off friends and made excuses because I let food control me. Food restriction became my biggest enemy. I couldn’t even be around food I didn’t let myself have because I would binge until I was sick, felt overwhelming guilt, restricted myself of more food the next day because I over indulged, and it became a never ending cycle. I know I’m not the only one who has ever done this, but why? I can’t pinpoint food control because the reason for it is a different battle for everyone. I can say there are a lot of new diet trends coming and going that many people take the time to experiment with because it’s the easy way out. Everyone wants to reach their goal with little to no effort. To be brutally honest, long-term diet success comes with a lot of failure and even more patience. With that being said, many people give up in their dieting endeavors because they fail and old habits creep back in. How do we fix this? Let food in and don’t fear it. That statement does not mean, eat whatever you want in endless amounts, but eat the foods your body is craving in appropriate amounts, even if the food is not perceived as healthy. Develop long-term healthy habits and moderation will find its way in your diet. Challenge yourself to listen to what your body is saying. “Am I hungry, tired, or bored?” “Am I eating to feel something other than pain, sadness, guilt?” Eat your chocolate (in moderation), but always include those greens!!! I can now happily say, ALL FOODS FIT my diet. When I was going through the binge-guilt cycle, I had no self-control. I introduced foods I craved into my diet everyday and failed a lot at finding foods that I enjoyed that were nutrient dense. I challenge you to be optimistic and try foods you never thought you would like. Here I am, three years later still finding unexpected foods, delicious! It was scary and it took me a long time to let go of the control food had on me, but I overcame it because restriction wasn’t the dieting secret for me. A life without chocolate, is a life I don’t want to live.