Is Your ‘Healthy Eating’ Actually A Diet?Aug 15, 2021
A common theme for many of my weight loss clients, despite saying they’ve given up dieting, is that they still think like a dieter. In other words, their emotional response to food is the same as if they were still dieting:
- They’re still conscious and often very judgmental about everything they eat.
- They’re often still trying to control or restrict their intake of certain foods.
- They feel terrible when they overeat or eat certain foods.
- And they call food ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and see themselves as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on what they’ve eaten, rather than seeing food for what it is. Just food!
It’s no wonder really since we live in a diet-obsessed world. Each week we’re subjected to thousands of dieting messages from TV, the internet, social media along with talk about different types of diets and people’s experience from colleagues and friends. And as the seasons change and weather starts to warm up diets and weight loss seems to be all you hear about. Yet dieting is futile. Research shows about 99% of people who lose weight on a weight loss diet gain it back again within a year. That’s a pretty clear indication that diets don’t work.
The bigger problem though, is that dieting thoughts usually translate into diet-like behaviours that are often damaging to your relationship with food and yourself.
You see, dieting has less to do with what food you’re eating and more to do with how you think and feel about what you eat. Until this thinking changes, you'll likely continue struggling with your weight.
Diet-like thinking is disempowering. It causes you to feel like food has power over you. Like you’re ‘addicted’ or have a ‘problem’ with certain foods. Dieting directly encourages emotional or out-of-control eating. Tweaking what’s on your plate won’t fix that, only changing how you think about food and yourself will.
In order to lose weight successfully, long-term you need to kick the diet habit for good. You need to make peace with yourself and food. You need to understand that one food, one meal, or one day is not going to ‘make or break’ your weight or your health. This is not a license to overeat. It’s about replacing the external noise from the dieting industry with your own voice. By connecting with your intuitive wisdom – that part of you that knows which foods are best. It’s always been there but modern life and diets train us to ignore it; to get out of touch with our own bodies.
When you’re no longer restricting or taking advice from others, you can eat whatever you want, when you want it. You are no longer obsessing over whether or not you can eat this or that. There’s no guilt or fear when you eat your favourite foods. You'll eat with awareness. You'll fully taste and experience the sensations of the food and you can pay attention to how this food makes your body feel.
When you are able to stay present when you choose what you’re going to eat, you’ll become confident in your choices. You can work out how to truly nourish your body and make it healthy, strong and you’ll find your natural weight.
If you continue to think in a restrictive manner, or hoping that a new or better diet is lurking just around the corner, you’ll never free yourself from the dieting rollercoaster. You’ll continue to go on and off diets for the rest of your life, desperately clinging to them, hoping they’ll get you to your ideal weight. That’s not a happy way to live.
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