You CAN get the body you want without dieting. Here’s how!
I remember when I was overweight, I saw all of these “diet” books and diet plans floating around. I specifically remember the Atkins Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, and Lemon/Cayenne Cleanse diet…
Believe me, I tried them all! Did they work? Sure they did. I lost a few pounds. But what happened shortly afterwards? I gained all the weight back, and more!
I’ve learned over the years that even though I could lose weight on a specific diet, it didn’t stick. It was like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg.
You see, I was an emotional eater. For me, whenever I felt happy, I would celebrate with food. And seeing as I’m a pretty happy, easy-going person, I celebrated a LOT! Chips, chocolate, licorice (my fave!)…you name it, I celebrated with it!
I also celebrated my workouts! I would kill myself on the treadmill (I thought running was the only way to lose weight) and then I would eat a huge meal afterwards, mostly consisting of carbs and fats. I did just workout, right?! I totally deserved it.
The pounds kept creeping on…and on…and on. And then I got pregnant! Well – you can imagine celebrating for two!!! It was after my pregnancies that I saw a photo of myself. And to my surprise, I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me.
It was then that I knew in order to end my battle with my weight, I needed to start a healthy relationship with myself and with food.
So I thought I would share what I have learned about dieting and why diets don’t work.
Diets don’t address the reason WHY we struggle: Maybe you are like me and you turn to food when you are feeling some strong emotions, like depression, excitement, or stress. Or maybe your weight issues are tied to your childhood experiences like abuse, abandonment, or painful losses. Or maybe deep down you use your excess weight as a form of protection to make you feel safe.
This is where diets fail. They don’t help you get down to the root of WHY you overeat or crave certain foods. Without knowing your WHY, you’re going to have a hard time changing.
Once you understand the reason behind your fears and triggers, you can work your way through them. This will help you lose the weight for good! This is a critical category in my Drop a Dress Size support groups.
Diets ignore your body’s natural cues: When I think of the term “diet,” the first word that comes to mind is starvation! Don’t you usually feel totally deprived and starving on a diet? I know I sure did! Eating according to external cues – the clock or the amount of food on your plate – goes against your body’s natural cues. And we all know what happens when we underfeed ourselves…we trigger our need to overeat and binge.
I remember when I was doing the Cabbage Soup Diet. At first I was thinking, “I’ve got this – I can eat soup for every meal for 5 days straight!” And then by day 2, my tummy started rumbling, I started getting tired, and I wanted to eat EVERYTHING in site!!!
If you’re in the 1, 2, or 3 zone, it’s nearly impossible to make rational decisions about food! I call it the H-ANGRY zone! And if you’re in those zones, you can quickly move to a 9 or 10.
Rather than waiting until you’re ravenous, you want to start eating when you’re in zone 4 and stop eating when you reach zones 5 – 6. If you find yourself eating when you’re in zones 7 – 10, then most likely you’re eating food for emotional reasons such as to reward yourself, comfort yourself, or reduce anxiety/stress.
The next time you have an intense emotional food craving, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge how you are feeling. Are you feeling anxious at that moment? Are you feeling depressed about something? Did you just accomplish something and you want a reward?
Then WRITE out what you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. Once you have acknowledged those feelings, busy yourself with something else. Take a bath, call a friend, walk the dog, play with your kids, chew some gum!
Doing this will allow you to distinguish between actual physical hunger and emotional hunger. So the next time you have an intense emotion, you can learn how to deal with your emotional needs without turning to food.
Diets are not individualized: I often find that most diets try to fit everyone into the same mould. Most of them say to eat very few calories. But what happens is, our bodies are all different, and for some, eating 1,200 calories is not enough.
For example, because I am a 5′ 10″ female who does a lot weight lifting, I need a lot more calories than the average women. If I tried to survive on 1,200 calories, my metabolism would decrease so much that it would put me into starvation mode. This causes a LOT of stress on our bodies, and leads to things such as hormone imbalance.
No one knows your body better than YOU. If you are starving, your body is telling you to eat! If you aren’t hungry, then your body is telling you not to eat. Every single person has unique energy and nutrient needs. Keep this in mind when you see ridiculously low calorie meal plans or diet plans. Trust and honour your hunger levels to meet your individualized needs.
Diets keep you locked in a food prison: Food is important – we need it to survive! It’s also what connects us. We celebrate with food, socialize with food, and fuel ourselves with food.
Diets however, make food the enemy. For example, in the late ’90s and early 2000’s, we were told to avoid fat! We should buy fat-free everything. Nowadays, we are told we should avoid carbs. Carbs are the enemy!
In fact, your body needs all of the nutrients to survive and thrive! We NEED healthy fats, we NEED healthy carbs, we NEED healthy protein. I don’t know about you, but when I avoid carbs, I become one of the most unpleasant people you’ll ever meet!!
Diets rob you of the pleasure of eating. When I was following a diet, every day I would wake up and dread what I had to eat that day.
But no more!! Every day, I now look forward to what I’m going to eat! I LOVE the food I eat. It makes me feel good, it satisfies me, gives me energy, and I never feel deprived. I truly believe you can make healthy food delicious and yummy – so yummy that you start to CRAVE it every day.
Are you ready to STOP dieting for good?
I’m now accepting applications for my next Drop a Dress Size group – my online weight loss program for women who struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, overeating, and/or body image issues.
I’ll set you up with a customizable program. We won’t be starving ourselves…we will learn to LOVE ourselves and treat our bodies with respect.
You can learn more about the group HERE, or you can fill out the following application to be considered for a spot in my next group!