How often do you hear that nagging voice inside your head, that is not happy with your food decisions? Maybe, you are trying to lose or maintain weight, and that voice is your “go to guide”. If that’s the case, I have news for you. You possess what nutritionist might call, “the diet mentality”. Stay with me and I will tell you why you should reject your usual way of thinking about food, and use intuitive eating to heal your body. All you need is to reject the diet mentality!
It is not rocket science and, therefore, anyone who is willing to learn will be able to change their life for the better!
Vicious diet cycle
Think back at that time, you thought about following fad diet your friend recommended. “If it is working for her, it will definitely work for me!” Therefore, you decided to take on “Cabbage Soup” (for example) diet in hopes to lose 10 lbs in a week. And, to be honest, that sounded too good of an opportunity to let it pass you by. Next thing you know, you are hungry, always thinking about food you are not allowed to eat. And maybe you are losing weight, BUT.
Will that weight you lost come back with vengeance? Or will you (finally) be able to wear your favourite dress?
The first thing you need to know about any food restrictive diet is :
If you do not provide your body with a minimum amount of nutrients to sustain its normal functions, your body will respond by lowering your metabolic rate!
“What is the metabolic rate?” you might ask. Well, it is THE process by which your body burns calories. Higher metabolic rate means less chance for you to have any extra “something-something” in the form of fat.
But, if your metabolic rate is low, my friend, you are in trouble.
Low metabolic rate will reduce the number of calories you burn at rest AND during activities. In other words, you will need to eat less just to maintain your weight!
I want you to understand, fad diets might work for short-term weight loss. But, let’s face it, you might return to your usual eating habits after you manage to lose a few pounds, or maybe you will give into cravings before the end of fad diet term.
And in the process, you might just hurt your body more than help it. I know, it sounds sad, but it is true.
Let me introduce you to the way to reject the diet mentality, also known as “intuitive eating” or “mindful eating”.
What does intuitive eating mean?
Intuitive eating is a practice of noticing how your body reacts to the food you eat. When you are eating intuitively, you are aware of your hunger and your fullness. At the same time, you are sensing how your body feels when you honour both your food preferences and nutrient needs.
You need to rediscover a healthy relationship with food and to do that, you must follow 10 simple principles of intuitive eating.
- Reject the Diet Mentality. Say “NO!” to next fad diet your friend suggests you try. There is no magic “lose fat fast” pill, you have to work for what you want. Only after you change your mindset, you will change your life.
- Honour Your Hunger. When your body sends “hunger” signals, honour them. Otherwise, once you reach the moment of “excessive hunger”, you will trigger a primal drive to overeat (and we don’t want that).
- Make Peace with Food. Forget about the concept of “good” and “bad” food and let yourself eat the food you want. I mean, when you constantly telling yourself not to have a particular food, you more likely to binge on forbidden food. And don’t start on overwhelming feeling of guilt you will be punishing yourself with afterwards.
- Challenge the Food Police. Stop that strict voice in your head (Food Police) that guides you through life and food choices. Don’t listen to it or anyone else who says you are “good” or “bad” for eating a cupcake or a cookie.
- Respect Your Fullness. Listen to signs your body sends you. Simply because it knows when you are no longer hungry.
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor. Eat what you love! I mean, haven’t you noticed, when you let yourself eat what you want to eat, the pleasure you feel helps you feel like you’ve had enough sooner? Start by asking yourself what you’d really like to eat NOT what you “should” eat. Enjoy your food and the whole experience of eating.
- Honour Your Feelings Without Using Food to Cope. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Food won’t fix any of them. It may comfort for the short term, maybe distract from the pain. But the food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the guilt of overeating.
- Respect Your Body. Your body is as unique as you are! You must be aware, that nobody on earth is exactly like you and no body on earth is exactly like yours. Respect your body so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.
- Exercise–Feel the Difference. You must shift from focusing on burning calories or losing weight and instead focus on how movement makes you FEEL. Remember, exercise is a celebration of what you can do (Autumn Calabrese).
- Honour your Health. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. Make food choices that nourish your body while satisfying your taste buds. Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want ultimately results in variety and balanced food choices.
Reject the diet mentality and lose weight.
“Since intuitive eating allows me to eat any food we want, does that mean I will lose weight while eating things I love the most?”
I don’t know about you, but when I eat the whole tub of ice cream (or a huge slice of cake) I don’t feel that good. And I don’t mean emotionally, I mean physically. My stomach aches and I feel tired and just want to have a nap. At the same time, I do not remember (ever) overeating on vegetables and fruits.
What if intuitive eating was meant to be combined with real foods provided by Mother Nature?
Remember, even if there is no restriction on any food group, you still may decide not to eat ice cream every single day. Or if you do, because that was something you deprived yourself for way too long, you will change your mind in a week. At least, that happened to me.
Combine healthy lifestyle and mindful eating to see where your journey will lead you. Because you need to put yourself first and that will lead you to true success.
To be healthy you don’t need to eat less, you need to eat right!
Your life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change!