Did you know that the absolute worst thing you can do to lose weight is to go on a diet?
It’s soul-crushing. All that deprivation, calorie-counting, restrictive eating – and research shows that the diet mentality never works. Not long term, anyway.
So put down that expensive, heavily promoted protein shake and box of ‘weight loss’ bars. They ain’t gonna work a year from now. Sit back, relax, and read the rest of this article 😉
What is a ‘Diet Mentality’?
A ‘Diet Mentality’ is a particular belief system around food that can be very damaging. Behaviours such as restrictive eating, excessive exercise, all or nothing thinking, assigning food to ‘good’ and ‘bad’ lists and the self-loathing that happens when you’ve been ‘bad’… or feeling like you’ve failed or don’t have enough willpower.
Diets tend to force us to restrict our eating in extreme ways in order to lose weight. They tend to be short-term focused and don’t really teach you how to maintain the weight loss.
For example, what happens when you stop the diet and go back to your life? Well, countless studies show that most people end up piling the weight back on plus more. When you’ve put your body through an extreme calorie deficit it tends to fight back hard to regain what was lost (which is generally your muscle tissue, making you even hungrier until it’s back where it started).
And if you have a ‘diet mentality’ you probably feel like a failure when that happens.
The Great News
The great news is that by becoming aware of how engaged you are with Diet Mentality, you can facilitate a profound shift. The shift will happen when you’re ready for it! I hope by the end of this article you’ll at least have planted a seed.
This shift has been a key success factor for the hundreds of clients I’ve successfully worked with and had actually sped up their fat loss – and definitely improved their body confidence and their relationship with food.
The complete opposite to Diet Mentality is the concept of Intuitive Eating, which Tribole and Resch define as follows: “Intuitive Eating is a dynamic mind-body integration of instinct, emotion, and rational thought. It is a personal process of honouring your health by paying attention to the messages of your body and meeting your physical and emotional needs. It is an inner journey of discovery that puts you front and centre; you are the expert of your own body…”
Intuitive eating is the end-goal I have for my clients. Thing is, sometimes they are so out of touch with their body, and their hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin are so haywire that I need to hold their hand a little at the beginning.
I show them the foods that are going to be most nourishing for them, based on blood markers and their current health status. I teach them how to eat in a balanced way throughout the day – and once they start to FEEL BETTER and can see that this wonderful way of eating is shifting fat like never before… then they begin to have a sense of what intuitive eating means for them. They can tweak, adapt and customise things to suit their own unique body.
It’s a beautiful thing to see 🙂
My experience has shown me that while you don’t want to ‘diet’ you DO still need to make some changes to your food habits. It’s silly to think you can do the same things you’ve always done and expect different results, right? (thanks Einstein!)
It’s HOW you approach these changes that is key. Rather than coming from a place of deprivation (like when you’re on a diet) you can instead approach this as a complete re-learning of what to eat to feel your best. It’s a marathon for life, not a 1 minute sprint.
So rather than holding the mindset of “I’m dieting to lose weight”, I encourage you instead to change your approach to “I’m learning new eating habits that are healthy & nourishing”.
The results can then be:
- Enjoying the body size you know makes you feel best, and best represents who you are.
- Living in a healthy body.
- Feeling confident and appreciative of your precious physical self – daily!
At my Newcastle nutrition clinic, The Well Clinic, we have a signature program that helps people finally learn what and how to eat to naturally lose fat and feel really good in themselves. It’s not a ‘diet’ and the program includes a whole set of online modules to help bring about intuitive eating.
Truly a Mind+Body Approach!