If you're trying to give up dieting once and for all - or are thinking about it - I am so very happy for you! Dieting can contribute to emotional, mental, and physical harm - some of which includes an increased risk of worsened cardiovascular health through yo-yo dieting/weight cycling - no matter the size of the body, and an enhanced risk of developing an eating disorder.
When it comes to weight loss - which is the main reason that many people go on a diet - 95% of the people dieting gain back the weight that they have lost in 5 years or less. In fact, dieting can lead to weight gain. When a group of UCLA scientists explored 31 long-term studies pertaining to dieting, they noted that up to 2/3 of the people in the studies gained back more weight than they had previously lost - within 5 years or less.
The bottom line is that dieting doesn't work for most people in the long-run - and can do harm. Well now that we've got that covered, let's say you're working on the first of the ten Intuitive Eating principles, "Reject the Diet
Mentality." Given that we are surrounded by diet culture, rejecting the diet mentality can feel hard. It's so insidious! So today I'm sharing three tips to support you as you work to reject the diet mentality.
3 TIPS FOR REJECTING THE DIET MENTALITY
1) Remind yourself of why you're on this non-diet journey or contemplating going on one. How has dieting affected YOU emotionally, mentally, and physically throughout your life? What has dieting given you up to this point? Has it made you comfortable or uncomfortable when there's a bag of chips, sweets, or other "play foods" around? Has it helped you feel confident in making food choices or has it left you second guessing yourself? Has it helped you save money or lose money? Has it helped you feel comfortably full and satisfied throughout the day or left you hungry and eating foods that you haven't enjoyed? Has it helped free up space in your day to think about things that bring you joy, or has it left you obsessing about food and your body throughout the day?
2) Explore if you're experiencing diet-y thoughts/implementing diet-y actions. Recognizing when you're experiencing the diet mentality is powerful. Through this self-awareness comes the opportunity to compassionately question our thinking/actions - and make space for behaviors that will support our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. When I work with clients, we compassionately explore the "why" behind their thoughts - and the "intention" behind their actions. Taking this approach enables us to determine if they are having diet-y thoughts/implementing diet-y actions OR if they are practicing a form of self-care. For example, there's a difference between deciding to order a salad for dinner because you're truly craving vegetables after having been on a trip where there were limited food offerings - versus ordering a salad for dinner for weight loss purposes - or because it's "clean."
I've put together a FREE PDF that lists more dieting thoughts/actions - and a technique for how to reduce them. Click here for your FREE download, "DIET-Y PRACTICES & A TECHNIQUE FOR HOW TO LESSEN THEM."
3) Keep learning. If you haven't done so already, I highly recommend purchasing the books, Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and Body Respect - and gradually adding to this list. These are non-diet classics that provide evidence-based information for people who want to understand more about the Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size approaches - or for those who want to reinforce their current knowledge. Another terrific learning tool/reinforcement tool is listening to fantastic non-diet podcasts. I enjoy listening to these when I'm cooking, but I know plenty of people who run errands when they tune in. Here is a list of my five favorite podcasts by Registered Dietitians. Additionally, if you're on social media, start exploring different non-diet health practitioners on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Here are two group boards that I created last year on Pinterest: Intuitive Eating RDs and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors (You can read Intuitive Eating-related blog posts on these boards).
Remember, the non-diet journey is a process. Try to show yourselves the same amount of compassion that you would show your best friends as you navigate this Intuitive Eating path. You deserve it.
If you would like to work with me on making peace with food and your body, or address general wellness concerns, click here to learn more about my private one-on-one sessions. Happy eating!