We must say NO to Dieting, Even When Thoughts of Weight Loss are Ever-present

Well, this past week has been very stressful! Hurricane Isaias missed my mother in Florida but took out my power in New York for 7 days. I think ordinarily I would have felt a little inconvenienced but in the age of COVID, every little annoyance seems more intense.
I mean, who remembers food safety when deciding which foods to keep and which to toss! But as in all things, when the going gets tough, I like to remind myself of the things I am truly grateful for. Gratitude can go a long way in helping to manage overwhelm.
This end of summer seems to be bringing up overwhelming feelings for so many of us.
Just last week, one of my clients lamented that she is having a hard time looking at herself in the mirror – that she doesn’t recognize her reflection she is “so large.” Another client told me she was vacillating between wanting to stay under the covers with bags of Oreo’s and M&M’s, or go back on Whole-30 or Weight Watchers because she gained so much weight during quarantine.
It makes sense that when life feels like it’s spinning out of control, we would want to change our bodies through intentional weight loss.
And I get it. I totally get it. The $70+ billion dollar weight loss industry wants you to think that if only you could follow their diet plan and lose some weight this time, your life would be perfect.
Our world is very hard on women, in particular, and even more so if they don’t fit the cultural message that we should all be small.

But this is the false narrative of diet culture –
The seductive sound of the diet saying that
If you lose weight, all your problems will disappear.”

In the words of one woman in my Intuitive Eating program, for women in midlife, menopause and beyond, “My problems didn’t disappear. They only got worse! Diets made me obsessed with food and my body, and not in a good way. Letting go of diets freed up a lot of mental energy for other more worthy pursuits!
In this lesson today, I will remind you of some roadblocks when it comes to practicing intuitive eating that can help you feel more at peace with food and your body image.
I hope you learn some valuable tips and actionable steps for yourself from this article. Whether you’re someone struggling with diets and Body Image or if you are in recovery from an eating disorder, these 5 tips will help you say no to dieting, even during these challenging times when thoughts of weight loss are ever-present.

Tips to help you say NO to dieting during the pandemic

feel at peace with food and body image with intuitive eatingHere are 5 reminders why we must say NO to Dieting, even when thoughts of weight loss are ever-present AND especially if you are practicing Intuitive Eating.

  1. Please have patience! Intuitive eating is a part of recovery and is a journey – not a sprint. The process of letting go of diets and restrictive eating means you will be learning new habits and behaviors that are not dependent on your weight and the scale. We have all been socialized to think it’s normal to spend hours upon hours of our time and emotional energy striving for thinness. It will take some time to deprogram yourself from toxic diet culture. Letting go of diets is the first step. You CAN Do It! Have patience.
  2. Work on behaviors to feel better in your here and now body! Studies show that people take better care of themselves when they have more positive attitudes towards their bodies. When we starve ourselves and bash our bodies, we have less energy to do the things that are actually health-promoting, such as moving our bodies for pleasure, not punishment, or connecting with friends and family.
  3. Eat regular, consistent meals that are both filling, and satisfying. Eating meals consistently throughout the day can help keep blood sugars stable, which can help prevent “emotional” overeating. When you “biologically” fuel your body, you’ll be able to recognize and manage your needs more readily. You might notice that it feels easier to “decide” what you feel like eating, and how much food your body needs, rather than relying on an outside source, like a diet. When we eat what we truly desire, we often find that it takes less food to fill up and decide when we have had enough.
  4. Treat your body with the respect it deserves. Part of letting go of diet culture is coming to peace with our bodies. Our bodies no longer have to suffer through our persistent efforts to change them. Instead, we can show our bodies respect through acceptance. Having unrealistic expectations about our body size only sets us up for failure and disappointment. We are able to heal our relationship with our bodies when we begin to practice gratitude for our body and its functions.
  5. Put on your own oxygen mask first! In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of putting others’ needs ahead of ours, particularly at midlife and menopause! But it’s critical to carve out time for ourselves. Remember the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? Prioritizing self-care is a necessity, not an indulgence. In fact, I like to think of this as self-preservation, not selfishness. We need to value ourselves as much as anyone else. You are WORTH It!

Right now, when life is so uncertain, consider strengthening your conviction in ditching diets and embracing intuitive eating. As a result, you will feel more at ease and at peace with food and your body. And dare I say, you will be able to live your best life, and be happier and more content in the process.
In the words of another woman in my Intuitive Eating group, “I am tired of worrying about what I eat and how I look. I want the next 40 years of my life to be filled with joy in food, joy in movement and joy in my body. I am letting go after all these years because I finally realized that dieting serves no purpose!
Very wise words we all need to live by!

Learn to become an Intuitive Eater!

Intuitive Eating Essentials for Midlife, Menopause and Beyond: This is a self-paced program, PLUS live group support calls, that explores your relationship with food, your dieting history, readiness to integrate intuitive eating into your life, and teaches you how to use your values to make peace with food. This program is geared for women in Midlife, Menopause and Beyond, with special lessons dedicated to how we change as we age and what role nutrition can play. Click here for all the details and get on my waitlist for the next groups starting in September!
If you are not sure what Intuitive Eating is all about, read this article to get started, What is Intuitive Eating?