Intuitive Eating Principle 1: Rejecting the Diet Mentality
Ah, it’s that time of year again... New Year’s Resolutions!
January- when the weight loss industry gears up for another wave of hopeful dieters. Whether it’s keto, macro counting, protein shakes, clean-eating, or low-fat, we all can recognize the marketing hook of a new years resolution diet.
- Life Cycle of a Diet -
You hear of a new diet and think: this sounds promising. I can do this. No matter how many diets or plans you have tried before, you think to yourself “this one will be different! After this I will lose the weight, gain energy, boost my confidence, and everything will be great.”
The diet is set to start Monday. So the weekend before, you eat as much as you can of your favorite foods that are not “allowed” on the diet plan- enough ice cream, chips, pizza, french fries, and cookies to make you feel ill.
Monday comes and you feel virtuous and motivated to start the new plan, and things go great for a few weeks. Some weight comes off, you feel happy and successful.
But then your neighbor drops off a delicious loaf of homemade banana bread. “I’ll just have one piece” you tell yourself. Then you have another. And another. And suddenly the whole loaf is gone. Because you think you already blew it, you order pizza. The next day you can’t bring yourself to drink that protein shake, the diet starts to fall by the wayside, and pretty soon all the weight comes back, and more. You beat yourself up for your “lack of willpower”.
And then you see a new diet and think: this sounds promising- I can do that. And the cycle repeats.
- What if life didn’t have to be an endless cycle of diets? -
The first principle of Intuitive Eating is to “reject the diet mentality”. Reject the plans, pills, and apps that are never sustainable.
Recognize the harm that diets can cause to your well-being by making you feel inadequate, unsatisfied, or like a “failure” if the diet doesn’t work. Realize that restriction doesn’t work - it only makes you want that food or food group more. Get rid of the calorie counting apps on your phone, throw away the scale. Be gentle with yourself. If you have been dieting for a long time, it can be hard to learn a different way of thinking! It is also hard to let go.
You have this feeling that when you are “on the wagon” things are right and you end up losing weight. The problem is the on-again off-again mentality. When you are on, you lose, when you are off you gain. This weight cycling is physically unhealthy; the more frequently you run through the cycle, the harder it is to lose the weight again. The reality is that we need to shift our focus from the number on the scale to the behaviors that get us into a bind.
Intuitive Eating offers an alternative to yo-yo dieting. By including all foods, you learn to trust in your body’s own wisdom to feed itself, and improve your relationship with food because nothing is off limits. Eating becomes more satisfying and peaceful instead of restrictive, guilty, or stressful.
This year, make a resolution to ditch the diet mentality and start the “anti-diet” mentality: Intuitive Eating. Stay tuned for our following posts on Intuitive Eating each week on the blog!
Want help exploring this new way of thinking about food and nutrition? Reach out to us and set up a consultation with one of our Registered Dietitians today, or click this link to sign up for our 6-week online Intuitive Eating Program, starting January 19th!
Author: Becca Sprague, MS, RD, LD