Perhaps you’ve been hearing all about intuitive eating these days and you’re considering ditching your diet at last. Excellent decision!
It should be no surprise by now that dieting is harmful. But in case it is, here is a quick recap: Most people (up to 95%) regain some, all or more weight than they lost in the first place. This is really the least harmful effect of dieting, because it’s your body saving your life from starvation.
The more detrimental effects are:
So if you are sick (maybe literally) and tired of the terrible diet cycle, here are just a few reasons to quit dieting forever.
You know all that thinking about food you do when you’re losing weight or maintaining weight loss? That’s because you’re hungry. Or because you feel bad about eating certain foods. Both physiological and mental restriction cause a feeling of deprivation, which your brain and body want to solve by eating everything. Once you start eating to appetite and honoring hunger and fullness cues, that food obsession will disappear and you’ll have so much more time to think about other things. It can take some time and practice to come into alignment with those cues, so don’t try to rush this process.
Without any foods off-limits, you’ll start to actually enjoy the food you eat, which can now be any food. Wouldn’t it be nice to kick back with a delicious pizza and just relax and enjoy it? Have some ice cream without feeling bad the rest of the afternoon? Yes, you will learn to do that. And you’ll eat them in amounts that are right for your body because you’ll be listening to your body.
Food is what gives you energy and you will have more of it when you are eating intuitively! Especially when you include more carbohydrates! Thanks to the disastrous low-carb/no-carb trend of the past 20 years, most dieters skimp on carbs all day. Many of my clients blame their energy depletion on weight gain. But when they start to eat enough again, they stop feeling so exhausted. Imagine what you could do with just some of that energy!
Intuitive eating and eating competence are both validated models that show that people are healthier when they eat this way. Over the long term, as people really settle into normal, sustainable eating patterns, we see improvements in most health markers. For conditions that require some gentle nutrition, that can be accomplished more easily when you’re eating enough food.
This one happens with intentional work. Basing your worthiness on your ability to attain thinness leads to fleeting self-esteem at best. Instead, you can develop body appreciation and recognize that weight stigma, not your body, is the problem. You can base your worth on the person you are, not what you look like. This is the reason I also include body image coaching in my work.
Gaining weight over a lifetime is normal. But a wildly ping-ponging weight due to dieting has been shown to be detrimental. Stable weights are typically correlated with lower mortality rates. Without weight cycling, the changes will more likely be smaller and incremental compared to the weight change that happens with weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting).
On a diet, you might spend a lot of time managing and obsessing about your food. When food becomes just another piece of routine self-care, you’ll think just enough about it to get yourself fed well. Then you’ll have leftover time to plan and do the things you want in life. Active body image work will help you to stop waiting to be a certain size to really live life fully.
Let’s face it: dieting makes no one happier or healthier in the long run. It doesn’t work and it harms your health. It’s time to ditch the diet. With a little effort, you’ll see the benefits are worth it!
If you want to explore what a life free of diets could look like for you, book a free consultation now and we’ll talk.
Welcome to food freedom! Dare to Not Diet LLC is owned by Glenys Oyston, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Therapist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. It's time to feel good about eating, your body, and your health.