If not dieting then what?
For almost 2 decades I was either dieting or not dieting. In fact I didn't know there was another option. I was either religiously weighing, tracking, counting, shaming and obsessing about food. The food I should eat. The food I shouldn’t eat. The food I’m not eating while I’m on this diet because I have no ‘control’ over it.
Calories, somehow have been taken from a measure of energy to a word that we fear, we try to limit and for many of us spend incredibly long, painstaking hours trying to count.
When we feel out of control, choosing to diet, to restrict our food and meticulously balance our energy in and energy out gives a false sense of command. The funny thing is, that what we try to control actually controls us.
Yes calories are a measure of energy but food isn’t just about energy.
Food is way more than that. Food is information. It sends signals to our brain and stomach and muscles. It sends information about hormone secretion, about muscle repair about the integrity of our immunity. Food is far more than just the energy to potentially burn or store as fat. It’s enjoyment, why else did we develop taste buds. It’s helps us connect with people and it’s about building memories.
The thought that food is merely fuel doesn’t gel right with me any more.
So what am I suggesting here?
Go bonkers and eat 2 packets of Tim Tams for dinner? Well you do what you like, you are running your own show. I certainly wouldn’t be beaming with vitality after doing that. It doesn’t feel good for me to eat like that. I would not feel satisfied even though I’d have introduced a tonne of calories into my body.
I ask you this. How many times have you been back to weight watchers, to 12wbt, to IQS, tried Paleo or cabbage soup or Tony Ferguson? More than you would like to admit? When you ‘diet’, you need to always ‘diet’ to maintain those results.
I hear so many people say, “oh yeah XYZ diet/program does work, I just stopped doing it and then gained all the weight back”.
HELLO!! Did you start doing it to be paying membership forever? Did you plan on tracking or counting or weighing for the next 50 years? It’s not that you failed the diet, it’s that the diet failed you. Maybe like me, you haven't grasped there is actually another way to eat.
Restricting calories ends up meaning lean muscle mass is burned for energy. Eventually, your body will switch from burning energy neutral adipose tissue (fat) to burning your hungry lean muscle. So even if the scales go down, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the fat disappearing. Getting on a sale is as about as useful as weighing your food…don’t bother!
So how then do I not diet?
My own food philosophy is eating whole unprocessed foods, most of the time. That’s what works for me. More often than not, I eat food that has come from mother nature. It feels good to give my body what it wants. I notice a difference in how I feel when I fuel my body with really nourishing food. I also regularly enjoy hot chips, cocktails and cadbury creme eggs.
Nothing is banned for me or my family but we do eat mostly really nutrient dense food. Why? Because I choose to give back to a body that takes such excellent care of me. It’s how our bodies are designed to eat and I notice a difference in my mental and physical functions when I don’t eat this way. We were never meant to count calories or weigh our food or cut whole food groups out.
So listen to what your body wants. Give your body what it wants.
Listen to your inner nutritionist, we all have one. Like a small child before the rules are placed on them around food, intuitively know what to eat.
Intuitive eating is the only way to really heal your relationship with food.
What is best for you right now. If that is a big bowl of homemade vegetable soup, great, if that is butter chicken, great. Eating because we ‘should’ is never going to end well. When you have just finished your dinner and you find yourself reaching for that cheese or chocolate or insert food here, ask yourself what am I really hungry for? If you can get there, I can guarantee 9 times out of 10 you will discover it’s not the food. Maybe it’s your inner rebel who after 12 hours of restriction is taking over. Maybe you’re lonely, maybe you’re sad.
Think about where dieting and restriction has taken you in the past. Are you still there now? Are you sick to death of being a slave to food?
If you would like some help deciphering all the contradictory advise, you can book in a session with me to help simplify it all.