Why You Really Don't Want to DietApr 12, 2020
So why you really don’t want to diet - dieting and restriction don’t work. At least not in the long term. For a while most of us seem able to follow a meal plan, cut out certain foods, limit other foods, count macros, count calories – until we can’t anymore and give up.
We all Live in the Real World
Real life happens – holidays, being ill, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, social occasions – days where our expertly planned food just isn’t available or doesn’t happen. And dare I say it social distancing/isolation!
Restriction is miserable.
Having a list of foods we “can” eat or “can’t eat”, weighing, measuring all food we eat is boring and tiresome. We want to eat when we’re hungry, enjoy the food and not feel anxious around it. We want to enjoy going out for dinner without worrying about what will be on the menu & planning everything in advance.
Food can become a cause of stress, with our beliefs and feelings about food influencing our beliefs and feelings about ourselves. We lose all trust in ourselves with food. We have no belief that we’ll know when to stop eating. This in turn leads to increased self-doubt in ourselves in different aspects of our lives.
What is ideal weight?
The overarching belief and premise of a diet is that the only way to be happy is to be slim as this equals beauty and health. To fit the ideal portrayed in the media. This isn’t the case.
The point of a diet is to reach your “ideal weight.” But what is that – as Tony Schober points out we forget that our ideal weight is just a side effect of our behaviours and how we feel. Chasing (and even reaching) the number we have decided is right for us does not mean we are going to be happy and accept ourselves. It’s about so much more.
Instead of fighting with the number of the scale, focus on how you feel. Move to feel good, in a way you enjoy and not just for aesthetic reasons.
Your ideal weight is actually the weight where you don’t have cycles of bingeing and restricting with food, you move regularly in a way you enjoy. You feel satisfied after meals and don’t feel negative emotions around food. How you view yourself and your worth is separate to what your body looks like or it’s size.
If we strive to be and feel the best version of ourselves what we weigh is just an irrelevance. (see We’re More than We Weigh)
it is possible to live another way
It is possible to have a life where you trust yourself around food, you go out for dinner, social events without worrying that you’ll overeat and then have to compensate for it the next day. You eat based on how you feel and what sounds good to you. You basically feel at ease in your food consumption.
If, like me, you’ve been entrenched in the diet world for years this will take time (see Stop Dieting – is it as easy as that?).
Stick with it – it’s worth it and so are you.
I have adopted a few nutritional strategies that I aim to stick to day to day – but these are purely based on what I’ve learnt makes me feel my best and most energized. Be curious about what makes you feel optimal. Treat yourself as your own experiment – try different foods and ways of eating – you’ll discover what makes you feel great and conversely what doesn’t.
Be aware of what you’re consuming
I’m not just talking about food consumption here either.
What you see on-line etc - particularly at the moment with the social distancing regulations, the memes doing the rounds to do with people putting on weight because they’re at home all day and we’re all going to come out the other side having gained weight etc. All they do is reinforce the societal view that bigger bodies are bad and to be avoided at all cost.
Now is a time when you could start to challenge these beliefs and focus on discovering what works for you.
Particularly at the moment you may be missing your freedom - the ability to go and do what we want to do. Take this time to find freedom in other areas of your life.
To Sum Up
Define your ideal weight in a way other than being based on numbers.
Give yourself time & stick with it.
Be aware of what your consuming - non-food wise.
Also see “Food Restriction or Food Freedom”