One of the biggest mindset shifts we can make to improve our health is understand why diets don’t work. Every New Year, there seems to be another crash diet or fashionable cleanse that you just “have to try” or else you must not be serious about being your best self, right?
No judgment here; I’ve jumped on that bandwagon too. I’m not against detoxifying our bodies. I just disagree with the messaging that keeps coming up over and over again: do this, do that, and then you’ll finally be good enough.
My friends, you are good enough!
It’s super harmful to align your self-worth with how you look on the outside or what other people feel is acceptable. I know it won’t be easy – these are long-held beliefs for some of you – but fast results are not the goal here.
We can’t heal and change the whole world at once, but we can begin with ourselves. To help you take the first steps, I’ve put together 4 ways to adopt a non-diet approach to healthy eating and being.
Food restriction often begins when we’re young, so I know for some, you’ve spent your entire life dieting. This is why in my practice I don’t do meal plans.
And it’s so funny, I’ve had clients say, “If you’re not going to put me on a diet or a meal plan, then what are we going to do?” The belief that the only way to get healthy is to be on a diet is so ingrained in us.
I really want people to develop a robust, intuitive way of eating for themselves. It’s about connecting with your body. And obviously there are multi-billion dollar industries built around making all of us (regardless of gender identity) feel bad about ourselves so that we feel more compelled to take a pill or try a diet.
A whole industry designed to make healthy living seem over-complicated and super hard, and that’s why diets don’t work. It’s not about endless “can’t do this, can’t have that”, confusing instructions of what you have to avoid and different time zones to enjoy a sandwich in….
Your focus is better served on what you can enjoy. How you can eat real, whole foods and how those foods will make you feel, on the inside. So give yourself unconditional permission to eat foods that will fuel your body well and nourish your soul.
As I discussed last week, the more you practice connecting with your body, the better developed your internal guidance system will be to help you make decisions based on what works for your body. You’ll be able to recognize and honor your unique cues for hunger, fullness, and enjoyment in your food.
And you’ll learn to take your time instead of rushing through meals. You can gain a deeper understanding of why you may be indulging in certain unhealthy habits like skipping meals or binging, instead of just a lack of willpower or food addiction.
Another reason why diets don’t work is because they always have an end date. And you just can’t stop thinking about it, and when you get to enjoy that juicy burger or sip another cocktail or enjoy a cookie again.
When you are consistently making healthy choices and adopting a better lifestyle, there’s just no wagon to fall off. There has to be flexibility in what you’re doing for actual life. And when you have a bad day or something doesn’t meet expectations, you don’t beat yourself up over it.
You just adjust and learn. And that is a big positive shift to make around food – that your relationship with food is a continual path. And just like any long term relationship, you are always growing, learning and handling bumps in the road with as much grace as you can.
The last thing I want to mention brings us back to the beginning of this blog post – messaging. But this time, I don’t want to talk about what influencers and diet gurus are saying. I want to look at what messages you’re putting into your own head.
Your environment – both your physical space and the world online we all inhabit most of the day has such a tremendous effect on your health and well-being. Are you surrounding yourself with people and things that embody the belief that your weight and appearance do not determine your self worth or the value you bring into this world?
You really have to do a little audit of those spaces and start to remove negative messages. That might mean ending magazine subscriptions that perpetuate diet culture. Or allowing foods in your home that previously made you felt shameful or guilty. It could mean you unfollow a handful of accounts on IG or start displaying art in your home that celebrates body types like yours.
There are so many ways we’re influenced by our environment that we don’t even realize, and many are an extension of this ridiculous belief that certain bodies are somehow more worthy.
And it’s really up to us to make a change. Instead of giving money to companies that perpetuate diet culture, open your wallet to companies that champion body positive ideals. We have to stop supporting these industries and start supporting each other in our health journey, no matter where we are on our path.
So, do you have a better understanding now of why diets don’t work? Are you ready to make a positive shift in your self-worth towards a healthier lifestyle? Let me know in The Badass Beauty Club, and join me every Friday at 9AM for a Facebook LIVE discussion.
LOVE + powerful change!