The last supper effect

11th September, 2017

Have you ever found yourself having constant thoughts about, or strong cravings, for certain food just before you start your next diet, or in the days leading up to an appointment with the dietitian?

If you said yes, you’re not alone. This is called ‘the last supper effect’ and almost all my clients experience this before coming to see me – even though they’ve read on my website that no food will be restricted. They do this because the normal human response to the thought of deprivation or scarcity, is to stock up. I had one gentleman recently tell me he considered a glass of wine at 11am in the morning (his appointment was 1.30pm) as he thought I would tell him to stop drinking!

Another client today mentioned how every time he planned for his next diet in his head, that day on the way home from work he would stop by the supermarket and buy all sorts of foods, many he never even usually ate, and eat all the food that evening. One of the things he realised recently, was how often he did this and never even went on the diet.

One of the most ironic aspects of dieting or restricting food in the name of health is that planning to diet or restrict your food often leads to behaviours that are not great for your health. Even if you don’t experience the last supper effect, dieting or restricting food very often leads to over-eating or going nuts around food at some point in time. Rather than blame the restriction of food, you blame yourself for lack of will power of self control, you do this because that’s what our diet culture has taught you. However, if you truly want to escape the cycle of feast or famine, of restriction followed by bingeing, you need to stop restricting food. A non-diet approach and intuitive eating can help you do this.

If you take a moment to reflect, are there any foods that you allow yourself to eat freely, with no sense you shouldn’t be eating it, that you feel you can’t enjoy in moderation? If so, please leave a comment on Facebook as I’d be curious to know.