It seems every day there’s a new miracle product, program, or ‘food’ that promises weight loss. Yet time and time again I see the promises are false (and I’m sure you do too!).
Sure, if you follow a diet plan you will most likely lose weight — but after some time you put the weight back on. So you go on a diet AGAIN, and the cycle continues. Here’s how the process usually goes, in its most simple form:
- Start dieting (often on a Monday…)
- Restrict meals and/or types of foods
- Lose weight
- End dieting
- Return to normal routine & eating habits (and likely some bingeing in there too)
- Gain weight
- Start dieting again
- Repeat steps 1-7 again (and again, and again)
You see, going “on” a diet implies that someday, unhealthy habits — and extra weight — return. More beneficial is learning — and sticking to — realistic, healthy eating habits. In other words, adopting an everyday healthy diet. While you may be thinner after going on a diet, approaching weight control as a defined period of altered behavior with a beginning and end is neither smart, nor healthy.
On top of that, dieting doesn’t teach you how to listen to your body and it’s hunger cues. (I could actually list 50 reasons why diets don’t work, so maybe I’ll compile that list to show you someday!) The key to successful weight loss is making changes in your eating, physical activity, and overall mindset (which includes how you think about food and your relationship to it) that you can keep up for the rest of your life.
Because being and eating healthy is not a temporary thing. Diets are temporary, but a healthy ‘diet’ (diet meaning, way of eating) needs to be something you can do for the long-run.
And the first step to doing that is listening to your body.
Now on the surface this may sound simple — but this inner wisdom is often muddled by years of dieting and food myths that proliferate in our culture. For example, “Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full” may sound like common sense, but when you have a history of chronic dieting or following rigid “healthy” rules about eating, it can be scary or a challenge.
And I get that.
When I first started listening to my body — instead of listening to the diet advice, gurus, and weight loss “secrets” — it was scary. “How can I trust my body when I don’t even trust myself?!” was what I was feeling.
And with all of the conflicting information out there (carbs are bad vs. carbs are good, fats are bad vs. fats are good, eggs are bad vs. eggs are good…) it seemed overwhelming. But step by step I was shown the way and I’ve stayed on this right path for many, many years.
The first step?
For me, it was letting go. Letting go of the notion that some diet was going to save me. That is was going to cure all of my problems. That is was going to solve what was wrong with me.
So many of us believe that if we lose weight, we’ll be happy — we’ll have everything we need….everything we want.
But many of you (if not all of you) reading this have seen this isn’t true.
Most people know how to lose weight — eat healthier and exercise more. (notice I said “lose weight” not lose weight and keep it off!).
What happens, though, when you lose weight on a diet– you don’t lose the reasons why you turn to food. Let me repeat that.
When you lose the weight, you don’t lose the reasons WHY you turn to food.
In order to achieve, and maintain, a healthy weight — you need to know the reasons that you turn to food in the first place.
Because otherwise, you lose and you gain weight 150 times. You spend your life on that diet cycle which I started this post with.
So I ask you:
- Are you ready to “let go” of the idea that a diet (or losing weight) will solve your problems?
- What is your “why”. What are some of the reasons you turn to food?