Most women out there - at some point in their life - have likely strived to be thin, pretty, fit, and thought getting to that perfect body would bring immense happiness. I know, I've had the exact same thoughts. Dieting or "eating healthy" with the end goal of weight loss is the way most people start along their journey. It's not hard to find the newest weight loss diets - just turn on Dr. Oz, ask a friend, or browse the bookstore for new health books.
When you start anything new, there's the anticipation of finally being on the path towards looking awesome and being happy. Diets give you a list of 'good' and 'bad' foods to eat, meal plans, calorie goals, and everything you need. It sure appears that way.
What they don't give you is mindset coaching or the warning label that 90-95% of diets don't work. As in, almost everyone following a weight loss plan gains back the weight. Before you head out to buy the latest supplement or diet book, read this list.
Why Weight Loss Diets Don't Work
- The diet industry makes $60 billion a year off weight loss attempts. Do you think they have your best interests in mind?
- Post-dieting binges occur in 49% of all people who end a diet, according to one study. The diet-binge cycle is real.
- Dieting is a predictor of weight GAIN, in a review of 31 long-term studies. Up to 66% of people regained more weight than lost.
- 81% of TEN-year-olds were afraid of being fat.
- Dieting is a risk factor for eating disorders.
- In the Minnesota Starvation study, underfed participants experienced a slow metabolism, obsession with food, intense hunger and food cravings, irritability, depression, apathy, cold intolerance, binging, and even bulimia. These were previously well participants that had severe symptoms from cutting their calories in half.
- Dieting is linked to eating disorders.
- Dieting is linked with feelings of failure, social anxiety, and poor self-esteem.
- Yo-yo dieting is linked to heart disease.*
Your body views dieting as starvation.
Your body views it as famine and drops your metabolism while increasing food cravings. It's just your body's way of trying to get out of 'famine' state. If you were in a true famine, this would be SO helpful. Food cravings would help you seek out food, so you could survive. Your body just doesn't realize that in modern time, we have food available to us at all times.
Our mindset around food has changed as well. Instead of thinking of food as pleasure, fuel, and sitting down to enjoy meals, many of us rush around eating on the go. We buy processed foods marketed as health foods, or buy into the latest news story about what is good or bad for us.
So, what's a girl to do?
- Give up the diet mindset.
- Choose to eat well to nourish yourself rather than control your weight.
- Eat for pleasure. Slow down, and enjoy your food.
- Move away from stories of shame and guilt around food and your body.
- Explore why you are binging or restricting. What are your physical, emotional, or mental needs?
- Respect your body. Accept yourself. Develop self-love.
Basically, it's intuitive eating, or "normal" eating.
Does Intuitive Eating really work?
You betcha! It's our natural state of eating. Kids are natural intuitive eaters - they eat when they're hungry, stop when they're full (somedays, they eat more; somedays, they eat less), and there's no guilt or morality around food.
Luckily, research also supports Intuitive Eating, and there are now over 25 published studies on it!
Here's what to know:
Diets don't work.
Whole foods can be true nourishment for the body, mind, and soul. Food is fuel, but it's also pleasure and can be enjoyed for emotional reasons (ice cream for my birthday totally makes me happy!).
Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat is the first step to a new relationship with food. You are deserving of food, regardless of how many calories you ate yesterday, how much exercise you did, or what your diet says.
When you choose self-love and self-care, you choose to respect your body. You realize that nourishing it and listening to its innate wisdom is more important than losing weight or striving for the culturally decided ideal body.
You can do this. I'm here to help. You are an amazing being worthy of love and nourishment.
I've seen the magic that intuitive eating and self-love can add to my life (and clients' lives!), so that's why I wanted to share it with you.
*Resources from Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size.
I'd LOVE to know in the comments below:
Have you heard of Intuitive Eating?
What is your biggest challenge with getting off the diet cycle or starting to eat intuitively? (I'd love to write a post on it!)