The first step to recovering from dieting is to REJECT THE DIETING MENTALITY.
What exactly does this mean?
This means breaking all the “rules” of dieting. Here are some rules that I’m happy to be breaking daily:
1 – “Always eat breakfast.” That’s right! It’s perfectly okay to start your day without breakfast. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. Eating when your body is not signaling you for fuel will work against you. As you begin this journey of rejecting the dieting mentality, you’ll discover the many ways YOUR body signals you for more fuel. You’ll also discover what your internal food police has been taught. You may feel as though you’re going crazy; however, you’re perfectly sane. The insanity started when you started your first diet.
Let’s look at this way….we have highways in the US that go from the east coast to the west coast. Along these highways, there are other roadways that take us off the main highway only to reconnect with the main highway somewhere down the road….they typically start with the number 2 or 4. For instance, I-405 connects with I-5 in two locations. We all start life on the main highway; knowing exactly how to respond to the body’s fuel need signals. Somewhere along the road of life, we were either pushed onto the other roadway or we chose to take another route. Either way, that was the moment we entered insanity.
It’s time to return to living a sane life and rejecting the dieting mentality is part of our return path to the main highway. It really is as simple as choosing to pay attention to the fuel need signals given by the body; one being hunger pangs.
2 – “Count your daily calories.” Believe it or not counting calories IS NOT a lifestyle change. Counting calories is a sure way to know that you have been dieting. Your body is the only one in the relationship who knows exactly how much fuel it needs for what it must accomplish on any given day. I can guarantee you that your body does not use the exact same number of calories day after day after day. When we attempt to control the amount of fuel being received by the body, the body is forced to make certain physiologic changes that reduce the number of calories it needs. It does this by doing things like shutting off the reproductive system. As a matter of fact dieting in and of itself may be to blame for a variety of “health issues” currently being experienced by many. There is no need for any of us to know how many calories are contained in any given type of food. All we need to know is that the body is in need of fuel and our response is to eat.
3 – “Measure and weigh your food.” Measuring and weighing food is also not a lifestyle change nor is it necessary. As a matter of fact, measuring and weighing of your food makes fueling the body incredibly cumbersome and complicated. It is 100% unnecessary. We don’t come into this world needing to weigh and measure food therefore, we do not need to weigh and measure food as an adult. We must simply trust what the body tells us. LISTEN to the body. EAT when you’re hungry. STOP eating when you’re satisfied. Now that’s easy-peasy!!
4 – “Avoid _____.” The only foods anyone should avoid are the ones known to adversely effect the body. If there are no allergies nor sensitivities then there is no reason to avoid any type of food. Placing foods on a “do not eat” list sends the body into a state of deprivation. It also starts a little voice in your head that constantly nags you to eat those very foods you’re working to avoid. To avoid deprivation and to stop that little voice, I choose to give myself permission to eat whatever I want whenever I want it. Just because I’ve given myself permission to eat these foods does not mean that I “have to” eat these foods.
5 – “Exercise to create a calorie deficit, which will mean weight loss.” THIS DOES NOT WORK. The equation “calories in + calories out = weight loss” is wrong. The body is not this simple. It works in intricate detail to keep everything in perfect balance. Telling someone that all they have to do is consume fewer calories than they burn through exercise is proving to have little understanding of how the body actually works. Does exercise, or moving more, benefit the body? ABSOLUTELY!! Naturally increasing daily movement has many wonderful health benefits. Increasing your daily movement naturally is an important part of living IN wellness daily. Way to naturally increase your daily movement include parking far away from the door when going shopping, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, folding laundry in the upstairs bedroom instead of the laundry room, etc.
Other things to do that will help you reject the dieting mentality are:
- throw out the body scale
- throw out the food scale
- stop keeping a food journal
- toss BMI charts and all equations that determine what you “should” weigh
- forget about the equations that tell you how much you “should” eat
- get rid of the nutrition fact books
- toss all the diet books, articles, etc
- delete nutrition/fitness tracking apps
You don’t need any of these things. They are detrimental to your goal, which is improved wellness NOT weight loss. Your weight in and of itself is not the issue.