It’s the same story I hear from clients. They try a diet and do great, losing 15-20 pounds in the first few months. Then they become hungry, irritated – mad that they are missing out on parties and events because of the diet they are on. They become resentful of the plan and feel deprived of their favorite foods, spiraling into negative thoughts and eventually giving up on the diet. These negative thoughts and “screw it” attitude lead to overeating on the foods they were restricting and can possibly lead to binging. A few weeks of this all-or-nothing mindset around eating, and any weight that was lost on the diet is back, plus some. Feeling defeated and unwell, they find the next diet to try, bringing them into a constant cycle of dieting and overeating and then dieting again.
If you’ve ever been on a diet you know the feelings around it. At first it is exciting, you feel motivated, and you are ready to make a commitment. You do well for a couple of days and although you’re a little hungry you may see some results and stay motivated. Then you might slip or cheat and feel some guilt around it. Sometimes you can bounce back, but other times that guilt makes it hard to commit and you end up “falling off the wagon.” If you make it through the diet you enjoy your success, but then become stressed about keeping the weight off. This sometimes leads to obsessive thoughts about calories, food intake, and your weight. Overall this situation is stressful and anything but a mindful approach to food intake. As a consequence, this can wreak havoc on your self image, confidence and overall body acceptance.
If you are currently in this dieting cycle you may know that it is hard to break from, but in order to live a healthy and happier life, it is key. Rejecting the diet mentality is the first step in intuitive eating and bringing you closer to listening to and accepting your body and your needs. If you are reading this, you are probably tired of dieting and trying the next big thing that will help you lose weight. If that is the case, it is time to get rid of any thoughts around quick diets. Throw out any diet books, magazine articles, or bookmarked diet pages that have promised results only to leave you stressed out and dissatisfied. Get angry about the diets that you have tried that made you feel like a failure once you were off of them and gained the weight back. Diets don’t work and the first step to reaching a healthier relationship with food is letting go and being free of them.
It can be scary to let go of the diet mentality, but once you do you will quickly find that your stress will decrease and you will start to learn more about yourself and your personal needs. If you need some support during this process, feel free to set up an appointment with someone certified in Intuitive Eating to learn more about the next steps and how to succeed with your new mindset.
This blog post is part II of the Intuitive Eating series. Missed out on part 1? Click here!
This post was first posted on the blog for Capital Center for Psychotherapy & Wellness