This past week, I was asking people some questions in my Free Facebook Group about some of their biggest struggles when it comes to nutrition, food and body image. The number one comment from folks was how hard it is to stop the chronic dieting.
This is a battle so many people have – learning to make peace with food and stop the diets, the restrictions on food, and learn to enjoy food and be comfortable in their own body. Stopping the yo-yo cycle of dieting is the best solution for most people, because studies have shown that diets fail 95-97% of the time.
When you check back in with people a few years later, most have returned to their pre-diet weight. Diets simply do not work.
So, how do you stop the chronic dieting and win this battle? Well, of course, working with a Dietitian like me can help ? but for those who want to start on their own, I have three simple steps you can take to begin this journey – a journey you want to become a path you stay on for life!
Enjoy the lesson today!
I am here to tell you, that You CAN Feel Good about your Body!
But I don’t “deserve” to eat!
This is a sentence I hear from many of my clients and people in my online groups and programs. That feeling that you do not deserve to eat particular foods. If you have ever felt this way, do not worry that you are the only one. It is a common feeling people have, especially in this diet culture we live in. That feeling of being judged, even by yourself, permeates the world and makes many people feel they do not deserve to eat certain foods. This is what creates that roller coaster lifestyle of diets so many people are stuck on. Up and down, on and off – you feel like a yo-yo trying this diet or that. Not allowing yourself to eat this food or that.
Chronic dieting is a fact of life for so many of the clients I work with and others out there. It can be a never-ending battle, but I am here to tell you that it is a battle you can win. And here is the best way to get started.
These 3 Steps are the easiest ones to start with and will get you off that roller coaster and on to the feeling of “You can do it” and “You do deserve to eat that food.”
Get started today with these 3 Simple Steps to Win the Battle of Chronic Dieting. Here are some steps you can take to overcome this thought process and learn to eat intuitively.
1. Recognize that your body deserves food (AKA fuel) even if it’s doing NOTHING AT ALL. REALLY!
Even if you are sleeping all day, your body is still using fuel for vital processes in your body, such as breathing, circulation, involuntary muscle contraction, manufacture of hormones, and other chemicals, and regeneration of tissues. This is called our basal metabolism.
On top of our basal metabolism, our bodies need additional fuel for any kind of movement (apart from physical activity). Just moving around all day, walking to the car, or even getting up from your desk, requires additional fueling beyond our basal metabolism. Any type of purposeful movement will require yet additional fuel!
Fact: Our brains and bodies need carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and other nutrients like vitamins and minerals. This is a biological necessity.
Did you know that when you diet, your body goes into a state of semi-starvation? When you work on recovery from restrictive eating, you will likely need more food than you think, as your metabolism works hard to find its equilibrium. You start this step by recognizing that your body deserves food. Period. Without conditions.
2. Eat balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals (like every 3-4 hours).
One way to start making peace with food is to stop dieting! You may feel as if you have no idea what to eat! This is extremely common. I often recommend trying to start with eating meals at regular intervals – whatever the meals consist of! I like to start with three meals and three snacks, no more than three hours apart. This is NOT a rule – rather it is a way of creating some structure and order out of what might feel like food chaos. If you have been binge or emotionally eating, or restricting your food, it can be very difficult to know what and how to feed yourself. This structure helps fight that feeling.
This step is the one where I usually suggest a structured meal plan or meal pattern with a mix of fat, protein and carbohydrates every three hours, whether you have been dieting, restricting foods or even after a binge. This planning prevents the brain from going without glucose, which is needed in constant supply.
An example of a balanced meal with a mix of fat, protein and carbohydrates is a burger on a bun, nut butter sandwich, or cheese, crackers and fruit. For additional meal ideas, you can refer to my eBook, 3 Steps to Making Peace with Food and Your Body Image.
3. Talk back to your negative or irrational thoughts, and be gentle with yourself.
If you find yourself thinking, “I’m hungry, but I just ate. I shouldn’t have any more food!,” ask yourself why you’re having this thought. Is it based on logic and reason? In other words, is it a rational thought? Or an irrational one driven by emotion, such as fear?
Use your rational mind to remind yourself that hunger is your body’s way of letting you know you need more food. Our bodies are smart, and they talk to us but we need to listen. How different is eating in response to hunger – from breathing air because your body needs oxygen? Or going to sleep when we start yawning? Food is as vital to our health as breathing!
Would you tell your best friend (or child, partner, spouse, etc.) not to eat if they were hungry? Would you withhold a bottle from a crying baby? I think not! Then why from yourself?
Here are a couple examples of Irrational and Rational Thoughts:
IRRATIONAL, DIET-Y THOUGHT: “I know that eating fat will just make me fat.”
RATIONAL THOUGHT: “Yes, I know that all bodies need fats to function at their best. Fats provide essential vitamins, are needed for brain function, hormone production, and a myriad of other vital functions in our body.”
IRRATIONAL THOUGHT: “I must avoid carbs because they will make me gain weight.”
RATIONAL THOUGHT: “No, carbs are a macronutrient needed by my body for immediate energy. Without carbohydrates, my body will eat its own muscles for energy. And carbs make me feel better! I felt terrible when I did not eat carbs.”
This step is the one where you need to STOP and examine the evidence. Let your rational thoughts about food guide you, with love and compassion.
Practicing these three steps on a regular basis will help you Honor Your Body and Learn to Eat Intuitively!
Our bodies are miraculous and provide us with incredible amounts of information, if only we listen and make a plan to help us listen. Our bodies have internal regulation, which means they tell us if we are hungry, rather than relying on a set of rules (diets) written by someone else.
This is called attunement and studies show that becoming attuned to our body signals (hunger) will help us to be more successful in maintaining healthy habits, as compared to dieting. With intuitive eating, we can be compassionate, gentle and kind with ourselves, and learn to win the battle with chronic dieting.
If you want to learn different ways to help you make peace with food and your body image, please join me in our free Facebook Group, Eat Live Nourish, and get more tips, info to help you on your journey!
Do you need more Support to Win your Battle with Chronic Dieting and Restrictive Eating?
If you are ready to…
- Remove yourself from the emotional and toxic diet culture we live in
- End your struggle with food and body image
- Stop blaming yourself for being hungry and then overeating
- Learn to be at peace with your body
Then you should click here to learn about the Intuitive Eating Essentials for Mid-life and Menopause online, self-study and the Nutritional Guidance for Eating Disorder Recovery self-study programs.
If you are not sure this is the right step for you, please feel free to book a free consult and I can help you discover what the best way is for you to get the help you need.
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
Download our Free Intuitive Eating Guide and get off that Diet Roller Coaster for good!