Take a purposeful pause to consider what your life could look like if you were to stop dieting and adopt a non-diet approach to life.
I know it’s a terrifying concept.
If you stop dieting, that means you’re giving up the promise of a future ‘perfect’ you.
But in this moment, you can’t see how your relationship to food and your body is impacting every other aspect of your life. The way you relate to food and your body parallels the way you relate to other people, your life purpose, and your self worth.
A non-diet lifestyle has endless benefits. In today’s article, I’m highlighting 9 benefits that showcase client successes I’d love to share with you.
If you haven’t already, check out my post on 9 nutrition myths debunked. It is a must-read!
Diet culture teaches us to believe we’re not enough as we are today. That we’re flawed works in progress that only they have the remedy for.
That once we purchase their products, subscribe to their plans, and follow their guidelines, we’ll finally be worthy of love and acceptance. So we buy into their false promises that keep us on a never-ending hamster wheel.
A non-diet approach to life, on the other hand, helps us consciously reject the idea that we need to be anything other than who we are in this moment.
We soften our inner critic and accept that our flaws make us human and our worth is unconditional. This radical self-acceptance opens us up to being gentle toward ourselves and benefits those around us as well.
Which brings us to benefit number 2…
One of my intuitive eating clients shared that it was easier to be kinder to her kids once she decided to reject diet culture.
It’s difficult to treat others with kindness when we don’t offer it to ourselves first. When we’re undernourished, over-exercised, and doubting our inherent worthiness, our patience is easily tested. We misdirect our frustration toward those closest to us and then beat ourselves up double-time.
First, we weren’t good enough for [insert diet culture reasoning here], and second, because we acted out toward a loved one. Can you feel the burden of that image?
Becky was even able to use a little humor to replace her critical voice:
‘Isn’t that silly that you think you’re so bad for eating a yogurt parfait?’
Such a lighter approach to building self-awareness!
A favorite client success of mine comes from Kacey. She shared:
Yesterday I went to the mall to buy sunglasses. I was dressed in some of my new clothes—and I did not have a cardigan or jean jacket covering my arms. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just walked confidently through the mall in freedom—-a freedom I used to hope I’d find once (and only when and if) I lost weight and was living in what diet culture said was my ideal body weight.
Under the veil of diet culture, we constantly picture ourselves being looked at. This is known as self-objectification. We’re forever worrying about what other people are thinking as they evaluate us the same way we do in the mirror every day.
Adopting a non-diet mindset allows us to shift from being the observer of our physicality to actually experiencing life from within it.
Living embodied means caring more about your own opinion of yourself than others’. That is true freedom.
Does this sound like exactly what you need? Schedule a call with me today, and let’s chat!
Chronic dieters learn to leave the presence of their bodies and live from the neck up. If you think you’re hungry, you’re probably not…sound familiar?
If you’ve been taught to mistrust your body’s signs of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction, you’ve also lost your ability to detect and honor its subtle cues of communication.
A non-diet life helps strengthen our interoceptive awareness. This is important because if we can’t interpret our bodies’ sensations, we experience every emotion as a threat. This typically leads to emotional eating, which is not always a problem but also not always the solution.
It helps to have a toolbox of coping strategies rather than relying on a temporary dopamine burst of food.
This is part of the work I do with my 1-1 nutrition counseling clients. They make strong connections between food and their past, which they can then rewrite with self-awareness. Isabelle shared:
My family’s comments and feelings of being judged about eating have made me feel shame but now I feel less guilty for needing to eat. I also feel less obsessed with food and am eating emotionally less often. I recognize my pattern of abandoning myself and my needs for others because I grew up not trusting my own internal wisdom, including body cues.
You know when you’re in the supermarket, and you make all of your choices based on the lowest-calorie option? That’s not a thing anymore!
Let’s be real, those foods didn’t satisfy your tastebuds or keep you full long enough anyway.
Part of becoming an intuitive eater is prioritizing your hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. I know, this sounds like reckless advice when food is your biggest weakness. But when you reclaim your power over food you can have calorie-dense options in the house without binging on them in one sitting.
Which leads us to benefit number 6…
Hear me out. Principle 3 of Intuitive Eating is Making Peace with Food. This means giving yourself unconditional permission to have what tastes good when you want it. This is what it looks like:
A Dieter’s Experience:
You go out to eat and see it as your one and only opportunity to ‘cheat’ on your diet. So you order the dish you wouldn’t allow yourself to have any other day, clean the plate, and order dessert even though you’re uncomfortably full. It’s your only chance, remember? After dinner, your fullness level is at a 10, you feel terrible about yourself, and vow to start the diet over the next day.
A Non-Dieter’s Experience:
You go out to eat and order what sounds good in that moment, not what you think you should order. It happens to be a crunchy, refreshing salad with a combination of sweetness and salty flavors.
You notice approaching cues of fullness, so you stop before finishing your plate. You consider the dessert options, but you know you don’t have room for that. Plus, you had cake for breakfast (guilt-free!) because it paired perfectly with your coffee, so you feel indifferent about passing on the opportunity.
For some, it can be hard to distinguish whether we’re motivated to move for healthy reasons like:
Or whether we’re motivated to move for the sake of changing our body’s aesthetic.
Sandy took a walk on her own because she felt like it and didn’t push herself. Reba noticed she had more energy, thanks to being adequately nourished, and celebrated wanting to move her body.
When we work together, you learn to let your intuition guide how and when you want to move because you remove the morality from that decision.
‘Yo-yo dieting’ is such a popular term because diets aren’t sustainable. They’re a pendulum swinging from restriction to overeating and from smaller to larger body size.
This is not only damaging to your bank account (because you have to maintain wardrobes in several sizes) but to your health outcomes as well. Yo-yo dieting causes twice the risk of heart disease and a higher overall death rate.
How much time have you wasted planning meals that didn’t satisfy you or fantasizing about your ‘ideal’ body?
How much energy have you given toward the mental gymnastics of what you ate yesterday, what you’ll eat tomorrow, and how you’ll exercise to earn/burn it?
How much money have you spent buying detoxes, cleanses, and programs that promised you perfect health (aka thinness)?
Instead, save that time and money by adopting a non-diet approach.
I’m so grateful that food is not the center of my life anymore! I’ve freed up so much time, energy, and money for the things in life that truly matter and bring me joy. I feel like I actually have a life now that it doesn’t revolve around food and exercise.
Again, I know it can be scary to give up the pursuit of thinness.
It feels so familiar to you that your brain perceives deviating from that goal as a threat. This is why it’s so important to have someone who’s been through it to guide you through the process.
If you haven’t already, grab a copy of my free resource, 10 Steps to Feel Relaxed With Food. I’d like to also invite you to schedule a discovery call so you can experience all these benefits and more for yourself.
The goal of our work together is to tune into (and eventually trust!) your body signals to meet your physical and psychological needs and learn to let go and challenge the rules, beliefs, and thoughts you have around food. I can’t wait to see what’s possible for you!