Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: 7 Reasons Not to Diet

dont dietThere are more than enough reasons to ditch your diet and to start eating intuitively instead. Here are a just a few…

1) Diets don’t work for 98-99% of dieters which means only 1-2 people out of every 100 dieters will keep the weight they lose off. Most dieters regain almost all of what they lose (if they lose at all) and many regain even more weight.  In fact,  your odds of being fatter 6 months from now if you go on a diet today are greater than if you don’t go on a diet.

2) Diets set dieters up for binges. Restrictive diets make for deprived dieters. Deprived dieters are more prone to binge on foods that are restricted in their diet, whether that be sugar, carbs or fats. Binges make these now-stuffed-dieters feel guilty and ashamed and even more committed to start another diet, starting the vicious dieting cycle over again. (You know the drill!)

3) Dieting can be very bad for your health. Dieting in general has been linked to an increase in high blood pressure,  type-2 diabetes and increased cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”).   More intense dieting can increase hormones such as insulin and estrogen causing you to put on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance and heart disease. Yo-yo dieting (losing and then regaining weight over and over again) has been shown to increase obesity, shorten life expectancy and lead to depressive disorders related to successive failures.

Additionally, in order to cause weight loss, diets must restrict energy (calories) which can decrease immune system function. Many diets also restrict at least one food group which can result in a loss of important vitamins and minerals. Low-carbohydrate/high-protein diets may increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, in addition to causing problems such as dehydration,  headaches and constipation. And finally, low-fat diets can raise triglycerides and lower HDL (good) cholesterol and testosterone.

4) Dieting can lead to obsessive thoughts about food and body image, disordered eating and even full-blown eating disorders. One particularly sad study followed young dieters over the course of a decade and found that the younger they started dieting, the more prone they were as adults to engage in self-harming behaviors like alcohol abuse and self-induced vomiting.

5) Diets make you feel bad. In order to lose weight even temporarily,  a diet must restrict calories so that your body burns more calories than you consume.  When you eat fewer calories than your body needs,  you don’t feel your best.  Common side effects of dieting include lethargy, sleepiness, physical weakness, headaches, leg cramps, depression and anxiety.

6)  Diets teach you to ignore your body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness, overriding your innate ability to know when to eat and when to stop eating. Following a diet means you aren’t learning how to eat on your own so if you go on a diet to lose weight, you will need to stay on a diet to maintain your weight loss. Translation: you can never stop dieting once you start (without regaining).

7) Every time you lose weight and regain it, the regained weight is increasingly difficult to lose. The body remembers the effects of deprivation caused by the succession of diets over the years, and stores more in reserve in preparation for future diets. Studies show that when dieters lose weight and then regain the same weight, they end up with more body fat and less muscle than when they started.

So how do you manage your weight without a diet?

By learning to eat intuitively…. rejecting the diet mentality, learning to honor your hunger (and fullness) and eating what is physically satisfying to you. Learn more by reading through more of our blog articles l and then contact us to discuss setting up an initial coaching consultation.

Intuitive Eating – Honor Your Hunger: Why Not Eating When You Are Hungry is a Really Bad Idea

empty or full

 

You know deep down that dieting is futile, that you want off the lose weight-regain weight roller coaster and you’re starting to think that Intuitive Eating might be for you. So how do you start learning to eat intuitively? By honoring your hunger.

Honor your hunger is the 2nd principle of Intuitive Eating.

You may be wondering what it means to honor your hunger.  Simple – Eat when you are physically hungry!

Now that you are a non-dieter, gone are the days of waking hungry and using coffee to blunt your appetite. If you wake hungry, you eat.

And no more eating every 2-3 hours to “stoke your metabolism”. If you are actually hungry every 2-3 hours, you eat. If not, you wait until you are hungry.

It’s lunch time and you aren’t hungry. You don’t eat.

If you skip dinner because you aren’t hungry and wake at 2am starving, you eat.

Skipping meals and letting yourself get over-hungry will surely make any attempt at moderation more difficult leading to overeating (and even bingeing) when you do decide to eat. Also, being over hungry will generally make you eat faster not giving your body time to let you know you are satisfied before you’re stuffed. Finally, not eating when you’re hungry sends you the message that you need to restrict, limit or starve yourself, none of which are necessary or recommended to manage your weight with intuitive eating.

So if you aren’t hungry right now, keep reading our blog articles on Intuitive Eating or contact us to set up your first Intuitive Eating coaching session. And, if  you ARE hungry, go eat!

Intuitive Eating – Reject the Diet Mentality: Decide Here and Now that You Will Never Diet Again

diet cycle

The first principle of intuitive eating (a strategy that utilizes your body’s inherent knowledge, genetic programming and instinct to help you manage your weight) is to Reject the Dieting Mentality.

This oh-so-important step is where you decide here and now that you will never diet again. Never. Ever.

Easy enough since nobody likes to diet, right??? Well…

Unfortunately, for many of us this could be the most challenging of all the Intuitive Eating principles. And why would we expect it to be easy? Over 100 million Americans are on a diet at any given moment. Little girls as young as 5 put themselves on diets, mimicking their mom and other female role models. Supermodels get thinner and thinner and airbrushing/photo-editing take more and more off of bodies in ads and other public images, slimming them into ideals that can only be obtained (theoretically) by dieting. We live in a superficial culture flooded by media messages intended to sell us products that promise us the moon and because we’ve believed for so long that there isn’t another option – we diet.

We diet, depriving ourselves of all the foods we love until we can’t resist any more and we cave. We fall off our diet and eat all the foods we’ve restricted while dieting…which makes us feel guilty and ashamed – which either drives us right back into another diet or drives us to eat even MORE of all the foods we’ve been craving. It is a vicious, vicious cycle that ends up making us fatter with each go around. Been there?

So….how do you get off this crazy train?

Decide not to ever diet again. Accept the fact that diets are futile. Rebel against the 61+ billion dollar diet industry that puts out diet after diet and diet product after diet product while never helping anybody lose weight and keep it off.

Choose today not to play the game anymore. Look at your own history of dieting – are you any thinner now than when you went on your very first diet? Who do you know who has lost weight and kept it off for a significant amount of time without continuing to ride the diet roller coaster? Call up Jenny Craig or the Atkins people or Weight Watchers or any of your favorite weight loss companies and ask for them to send you statistics on how many of the people paying them their good hard-earned money ever actually lose weight and keep it off – but please don’t hold your breath for them to get back to you.

And if your own diet experiences and the failures of all the “experts” aren’t enough to convince you that diets don’t work it’s hard to argue with researchers at UCLA who did a meta-analysis (a study of 31 other long-term studies) and found that the majority of dieters regained ALL weight lost and THEN SOME and that they would have been better off in the long run simply maintaining their heavier weight rather than dieting in the first place!

Wouldn’t you be happier if you could manage your weight by eating what you wanted when you were hungry and stopping when you were full? Don’t you LOVE the idea of never counting another calorie, carb, fat gram or point? Imagine yourself NOT checking a nutrition label for once or choosing from a menu based on what you really felt like eating, not on what you think you are “supposed” to eat. Free yourself of the shame, guilt and obsession of dieting by vowing to never diet again – REJECT THE DIET MENTALITY!

Intuitive Eating – What to Eat

guilt

So as an Intuitive Eater, what are you supposed to eat?

Well, after many years of dieting this might be a complicated question for you. You may have so many foods on your forbidden list that it might be hard to find anything you will allow yourself to eat. You might be so used to following a plan or a list of good/bad foods that you no longer know your own preferences —  or you might not feel you are capable of choosing after years of having others tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat.

Stop the food fight!

Start eating what you want.

Eliminate the concept of “good” foods and “bad” foods.

Eat what will be satisfying and will make you feel good.

Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.

This might involve a lot of experimentation. It might mean bringing back all the foods you’ve eliminated from your life because somebody, somewhere at some point said you shouldn’t eat them because they had “too many” calories or “too many” carbs or “too much” fat or that they just weren’t “good for you”.

Eat what you want and simply make mental notes of how you feel eating them, how satisfying they are and – importantly- how you feel after eating them. (Do you crash and feel like taking a nap or are you energized? Do you get a headache or feel great? Are you physically satisfied or do you feel drawn back to the kitchen to eat more 30 minutes later?)

The more you restrict the foods you really would prefer to eat the more likely you are to eventually binge on these same foods – or on other substitute foods that you stocked your kitchen with because they were supposedly “less fattening” or “better for you”.

Making peace with food means you no longer have to be conflicted when it comes to choosing what to eat. You eat what you want. You make love, not war, with food.