DIETS DONT WORK
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
If you can’t tell already, I’m an anti-diet Dietitian.
Diets provide false promises and hope, and take people far further away from their goals in the first place.
I always think of the classic quote from Henry Ford here (the inventor of Ford cars). When asked if he conducted market research on his consumers, his response was “No, if I asked people what they wanted, they’d tell me they want a faster horse”.
In my line of work, I ask people what they want a lot of the time, and can you guess what it is I hear people say most often?
Personally from my own journey, and the journey I’ve seen of others, what people are really after is:
To feel comfortable within their own bodies.
For eating to be ‘easy’, less stressful and less guilt evoking.
To feel heard and understood.
To feel worthy.
To love and accept themselves.
And yet, when people head down this journey of what they think they want, “weight loss”, it’s often attempted through the undertaking of a “diet”. And dieting often takes us far further away from the above notions, further away from our deepest desires.
Dieting generally does the opposite of allowing us to feel comfortable within our bodies, certainly doesn’t make us feel heard or understood, and eating is guaranteed to become stressful and guilt evoking when in a dieting phase. We generally become a heck of a lot more critical of ourselves, which makes it harder to love and accept ourselves and feel worthy.
It’s really that simple.
And it’s 1 thing to understand this at a theoretical level but I get that it’s really hard to accept it.
It’s so much easier to take the alternative route of dieting for the endeavour of weight loss because only THEN will we, FINALLY, feel comfortable, when we are SMALLER.
Society has done a really REALLY good job at telling us that we shouldn’t feel comfortable unless we’re small. Diet culture is everywhere we turn in Western society. It’s plastered all over social media, it’s depicted on photos hanging up inside your gym, its hot topic in the tea room during lunch break at work, constantly reminding you that the smaller you are = the healthier you are. And the bigger you are = the less worthy you are. (Which is incredibly wrong and incorrect).
It’s this fight that so many people have been on for so long.
Dieting isn’t new and it’s been around since the 1940’s when the first big dieting boom came out.
But it doesn’t work does it?
And it’s in the statistics.
95% of the time, diets FAIL, and original weight, IF NOT MORE, is regained within a 2-5 year period.
We know that living in a larger vs smaller body doesn’t make any single one healthier, or unhealthier than the other.
There is so much more that comes into play regarding health than our body size alone and blank statements and narrow minded views simply don’t help.
Our eating behaviours, our emotional and spiritual health, the way in which we move our bodies, and so much more contributes to “health”, along with the definition of “health” being so varied among us all.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m pretty over diet culture and it’s BS.
What I am into though?
Tuning into and listening to my hunger and fullness cues, understanding what and how much my body needs AND WANTS, and this is an important part: not only what it needs, but also what it WANTS.
Food plays so many different roles in our lives. We eat for so many different reasons. Health, comfort, connection, culture, fuel, enjoyment, the list goes on.
Intuitive eating celebrates joyful exploration of ALL roles. This includes the welcoming of previously demonized concepts such as eating for reasons other than nutrition and health, and welcomes emotional and comfort eating. They are natural parts of the eating experience.
None of the wonderful roles food plays in our lives are ever meant to make us feel guilty. Imagine if our ancestors from hundreds of years ago sat down with you while you ate chocolate and watched you ridden with guilt after? They’d surely say “what the f**k” (or maybe vulgar language wasn’t around as much then).
And I get it that things are different now.
Our food chain in Western Society is different. What we have access to is different. Our emotions, stressors, and psychology play into our food choices as we grow up and how we feel before, during and after meal times and eating experiences shifts as we age.
And these are all really important to explore, and be aware of. Awareness is empowering.
And it’s not always the easiest of journeys to let go, but it’s so worth it.
Disclaimer: Dieting is sneaky and these days, diets have been warped to be viewed as ‘wellness’ and ‘being healthy’. Be mindful of the sneaky ways dieting is portrayed as ‘looking after yourself.’
Dieting is anything that
- Specifically identifies exactly how much you are to eat in any one sitting
- Tells you what you need to be eating
- Forces you to ignore your hunger cues
But more than that, if it brings you guilt, fear, pressure – it sure as hell ain’t looking after yourself! It’s the same shit, just a different sandwich!
Ask the question of how something makes you feel and you’ll know the answer if it’s right for you or not.
Intuitive eating is all about empowering you to know you hold all the answers!
The Intuitive Dietitian xx