If you have been drawn to this page, then there is no doubt that you are a sucker for the latest dieting phase.
Whether it is the 5/2 diet, Ketogenic, Paleo, high protein or any other Yo-Yo dieting scheme, you’ve tried it. And while you may have experienced phenomenal results to start, there is no doubt that you have ended up relapsing after your body has adapted or you’ve become tired of restricting yourself so much!
We all know that feeling. We have all been there. Sometimes you just look at yourself in the mirror and think, ‘that’s it, I’m starting a new diet.’ You are super motivated, keen to get results, but a few months in after going for coffee with your friend and being tempted by banana bread, you give in to the fighting urge and just eat it. With the one bit of banana bread you have just thrown your ‘diet’ completely out of wack and slowly all the weight piles back on, sometimes even more than before.
You feel guilty, disappointed in yourself, maybe even like a failure. Then comes the feeling of depression, you begin binge eating to hide your emotions and slowly you fall into a vicious cycle.
So the concept of dieting, is it really worth it?
While it may bring about some short term results, in the long term restricting your body of essential food groups, nutrients and vitamins essential for our optimal body functioning can be non-advantageous. Not only that, it can lead to a concept known as ‘dieting-induced weight-gain,’ an increased propensity to gain weight as a result of consistent or long term dieting (Tribole, 2012).
Furthermore, dieting has been linked with obsessive eating behaviours, binge eating, loss of appetite as well as eating with out even being hungry. As a result, scientists have found a causal link between dieting and obesity and eating disorders, (Haines & Neumark-Sztainer 2006).
When we diet, we limit our food intake, causing our body to go into a state of starvation. Suddenly, our survival instincts kick in as our cells have not realised that this form of starvation has been a ‘choice’ rather than us being stranded in the outback with out food for a year.
Our metabolism comes to a catastrophic halt and the cravings for the foods that we are limiting ourselves from gradually increases. Therefore over time the body adapts to the changes, often resulting in rebound weight gain. Not only that but our body becomes unable to distinguish the feeling of hunger and satiety and we lose the ability to determine when and how much food to eat, consequently leading to further weight gain and sometimes even eating disorders. So what does the chronic dieter tend to do as a result of this weight gain? More dieting of course! And so the process begins again.
But here is a crazy thought, instead following a diet that claims to help you lose weight, why not instead listen to your body? This concept, called Intuitive Eating, is a process involving the returning of your mind and body to teach you to rely on hunger and satiety cues to determine your meal timing and portions.
According to 25 proven studies, Intuitive Eaters have a:
- Lower BMI
- Lower levels of eating disoders
- Greater enjoyment of food and eating
- Greater range of foods incorporated into their eating
- Better cholesterol levels
- Greater psychological hardiness
(Tribole & Resch, 2012)
HOW TO DO IT?
So how do we ditch the diet and reclaim our healthy relationship with food? Here are some ideas.
1. Get off the diet immediately- Throw out all your books, magazines and unsubscribe from your diet fads. Start from scratch with a healthy, wholesome foods. Pinterest has some great resources and soon I will be providing you with some of my favourite blogs for recipes!
2. Reward your hunger and eat regularly- Feed your body when it needs to with the right nutrients. Starving yourself just causes you to feel even more hungry or binge on the wrong foods. You are much better to eat regularly, every 2-3 hours or so not only to maintain your energy levels but to assist in combating your hunger and maintaining your metabolism.
3. Give yourself permission to eat- Do not limit the amount of calories you eat, just make sure when you do you are fuelling your body with the right proteins, fats and carbs to give you long term satisfaction and energy. Listen to your body and ensure that you are maintaining a nutritional intake that balances your energy exertion levels.
4. Don’t Restrict Yourself- If you want to have a piece of chocolate or cake, do it, but in moderation of course. Limiting yourself will just result in bad cravings or causing you to go backwards. On the other hand if you know you are going out and are going to be subjected to lots of unhealthy food, pack a healthy snack such as an apple or almonds to eat BEFORE you eat the naughty foods
5. Eat Mindfully- Recognise the signs that you are no longer hungry. Take your time to chew and taste each mouthful of your food and stop in between to check in on your level of fulfilment. Eating should be a mindful activity with no distractions.
6. Exercise- Don’t see exercise as an act of burning calories, just embrace the joy of being active. Seeing exercise as an enjoyable activity rather than a chore will motivate results and help shift your mind’s focus, to in turn eat more effectively. Exercising with a buddy is also a great weight loss motivator!
7. Deal with Emotions- Rather than eating your emotions, deal with them. If you are feeling upset, cry, if you are feeling angry, punch a punching bag, but don’t turn to food to fix these feelings because at the end of the day eating the wrong foods is just going to make you feel worse.
Most importantly embrace who you are. No matter what weight we are, we are never going to be happy until we can learn to love the person that we are and the value that we have on this earth.
And remember if you ever need any help on your weight loss or fitness journey, as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Guru, I am always happy to help.
Tribole E. (2012). Warning: Dieting Increases Your Risk of Gaining MORE Weight (An Update). www.IntuitiveEating.org
Tribole E. & Resch E. (2012-in press). Intuitive Eating (3rd edition). St.Martin’s Press: NY,NY.
Haines, J. & Neumark-Sztainer D (2006). Prevention of obesity and eating disorders: a consideration of shared risk factors. Health Education Research, 21(6):770–782. [Free Full Text http://her.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/6/770.long ]