Dieting used to feel like my full-time job.
Every time I tried to give notice, the insecurity over not trusting myself enough around food stopped me.
It felt familiar. Dieting was second nature.
As was my self-doubt and dissatisfaction with my body.
I tried every diet, pill, potion, cleanse whathaveyou over the nearly two decades of my toxic relationship with food and my body.
So, I tried something radical (for me): I stopped trying.
And this is what happened in the aftermath of my decision.
What I learned when I finally quit dieting
I got to eat what I wanted without feeling any guilt.
When you don’t have restrictions placed on your diet left, right and center it gets a lot less stressful when you decide to let yourself just eat!
I spent so many years worrying about whether the food had the right amount of carbs, sugar, fats, macros that it took all of the joy out of eating.
Seriously, just making a decision to eat was like solving a puzzle when half the pieces were missing.
Frustrating AND boring.
When I stopped restricting myself, I also stopped shaming and depriving myself. Deprivation is fuel to the diet and food obsessed person’s inner motivation fire.
Without all the ‘self-policing,’ I was able to focus on listening to my body and becoming more in touch with what I wanted to eat rather than what I ‘shouldn’t.’
When you take restriction out of the equation, you no longer punish yourself for food choices.
I saved money even though I was eating more.
I was a total sucker for energy drinks, diet snacks, and protein bars. Not to mention diet pills, caffeine, and fitness enhancing supplements.
All of these “health” products were slimming down my bank account and doing nothing for my well-being.
I soon discovered that eating whole foods was not only more satisfying but much more beneficial to my overall fitness level. And because I was eating healthy, flavourful foods like healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and real protein sources, I found that when I did try to eat an odd “energy” bar, I was paying £2 to eat something that tasted like plastic and probably contained it too!
In the same respect, a piece of pie or cake for dessert tasted so much better. Without eating processed foods, I appreciated the richness and flavour of the items I was eating.
Delicious food without a giant helping of guilt afterward hit the spot as well!
I realised that I was never “addicted” to anything I ate.
One of the most rewarding things about breaking up with food restriction is that you understand that the propaganda about being addicted to sugar and salt is not real.
When I began eating like a normal person, I started to crave whole foods consistently. Being able to eat all vegetables, fruits, and nuts alleviated the need for diet or sugar-free substitutes.
Products containing syrups, chemicals, additives, and preservatives are the culprits behind why you believe you’re “addicted” to them.
I also started to recognise my true hunger cues when I stopped restricting my diet. Without constant insulin spikes, my body was able to lead me to a better understanding of my appetite and how to feed it.
I stopped being at war with my body
Restrictive eating and body judgment are anchors for shaming ourselves. When I ceased to shame myself for the foods I was eating, I also stopped the cycle of body negativity.
A new cycle of rational and healthy give and take begins when you quit dieting.
Eating what my body needs when it needs it, stopped the mental battle I was living through while I was engaging in restrictive eating.
I stopped constantly being in a bad mood which I attributed to two things 1) processed foods were no longer screwing with my digestion and bodily functions and 2) I stopped shaming the hell out of myself for not being compliant with a diet plan.
It is amazing how much better you will see your body when you stop punishing yourself for not having “more control” over it.
The truth is, we have little control over our bodies and our health. While eating well and being physically active are part of the formula for good health, they don’t guarantee it.
Self-compassion is something with which most of us struggle. However, it is an even bigger battle when you spend your days and nights beating yourself up over eating a peanut butter cup. You’re only human, and there are enough causes in life to get passionate and fight against, your body doesn’t need to be one of them!
I lost some weight (and it stayed off)
Emotional and physical weight can be present in our lives in equal measure. When I quit my diet and began embracing self-compassion, it enabled me to shift weight without conscious effort.
As a coach who utilises NLP, I can tell you that when you spend life thinking negative statements, you will also spend your life fighting against those thoughts, and 9 out of 10 times get the very thing you don’t want.
Your mind cannot process negative statements. When you say to yourself “I can’t eat sugar,” your mind will only hear, “eat sugar.” While you think you are commanding yourself into not to doing something, you are essentially talking yourself into the very action.
Now, it may take some time for your weight to regulate within its set point range. If your goal has always been to lose weight, then it may take longer to lose it this way than by, say, carb cycling.
Enjoy and appreciate your body every single day that you have it. Feed it with love and compassion and skip the side order of hate!
If you would like to break up with diet culture and embrace a life of nourishment, abundance, and peace of mind – why not book a FREE 30-minute consultation to help make your relationship with food and yourself a healthy one?
For more information, fill out the form below OR shoot me and e-mail! I look forward to hearing from you!