Dieting is promoted all around us, whether it be in a conversation among vinas or on the billboards we pass on our way to work. But have you ever thought about how much energy it actually takes to focus on dieting?
This is not a plea for you to stop caring about your health, how you feel or how you look. But it is a reminder that diets don’t work—at least not in the long run. So here is some radical truth that many deny: your body is truly on your side.
That’s right. Your body wants to be at its healthiest weight; it wants to work with you. When you diet, your body is forced to freak out about the sudden shift in nutrition, and protection mode sets in. When you diet, you are attacking your body, your friend.
So what can we do to get off the diet treadmill once and for all and work with our bodies toward positive change?
1. STOP THE DEPRIVATION TACTIC.
Studies show, “When animals are deprived of their sugar solution for part of the day, they will binge on it when it is returned.” This goes for all food groups (and humans)! No matter how mentally tough we pride ourselves on being, we are biologically wired to return to what we have deprived our bodies of—in excess. This not only makes us feel like failures but also undoes a lot of hard work.
2. EAT WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY; STOP WHEN YOU’RE FULL.
This may sound ridiculously obvious. But after a whirlwhind of diets, it can be crazy hard to do. In the diet culture, we are conditioned to treat hunger as a pat on the back rather than a reminder and continue to push it just a little further to increase diet success. But when we do finally satisfy our hunger, we tend to eat well past fullness. As a result, we are not in touch with our hunger cues. So every time you sit down to eat, take a breath, and make a mental note of your hunger levels before and after to get back in tune with your body.
3. NO MORE GUILT.
If you are craving something, it is for a reason. Your body needs it. So instead of resisting the craving, try and indulge, slowly and in moderation, until you feel full. Sound crazy? The first step is trust. We need to trust that our bodies are not sabotaging us, and only then will we be able to control the amount of food that we put into them. If we are constantly telling ourselves that the first piece of cake will lead to a third, and we wait until we simply can’t resist anymore, then it probably will.
4. THROW OUT YOUR LIST OF “GOOD” AND “BAD” FOODS.
Food is actually pretty simple. We digest the six main food groups (starches, fats, proteins, dairy, vegetables and fruits) in the same way. This means that quinoa and bread are both processed as starches and digested accordingly. The only difference is portion sizes, which (surprise!) your body is totally capable of regulating through hunger cues! Once we allow all types of food into our diet, we can hone in on what makes us feel good throughout the day.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND.
If you struggle with body image or disordered eating, you may need to work on the emotional and mental blockers towards food allowance. Try seeing a therapist so that you can straighten out your relationship with your body and food.
How have you successfully ditched diets? Let us know in the comments!
(Featured image via shopstyle.com)