Because diets don’t really work
Does the word ‘diet’ make you cringe? Or make a stank face? Or both? If so, don’t worry -I’ll be making a stank face for the duration of this article, too. But stick with me for a minute, because this isn’t your typical diet article.
Chances are, with a multibillion-dollar diet industry booming in America alone, you’ve tried your hand at dieting before. Maybe, if you’re like me, you found yourself unsuccessful not simply with weight loss, but with being able to maintain the diet plan in the first place. Not to brag or anything, but my personal diet record regardless of the plan was consistently four days. You read that right – four DAYS. I mentioned it during my most recent Facebook live group coaching session over on the Kacey Hayes Wellness page, and it got me to thinking about just how many diets we try, only to end up frustrated and disappointed at our “failure” to make them work.
Did you ever consider that you weren’t the failure, but rather the concept of dieting itself?
For the sake of keeping it brief, dieting is basically mild starvation. You apply a caloric deficit to your body in an attempt to achieve more ‘calories out vs calories in’ without taking into consideration that you’re shorting yourself satisfaction, fullness, and pleasure.
But… what do those things have to do with health and wellness? EVERYTHING, my friends. Everything.
Because you’re more than calories
Counting calories was the worst torment I ever encountered. Still can’t do it to this day, no matter what fitness apps exist to make it a million times easier. But I understand that a lot of people are comfortable with this approach because some people work better with fixed data. However, if you’re one of those people, I would ask you this: have you found calorie counting effective in creating the healthy life you want?
In my experience and the experience of many others, calorie counting falls short in a few critical ways. It’s hard to maintain, it can be restrictive, and it’s wildly unsatisfying. It promotes a ‘can I eat this?’ mentality over one which asks ‘do I want to eat this?’ And to me, the biggest pitfall is that it doesn’t give the human body credit for being wise enough to know what it needs. Calories are in control instead of the human being. I don’t like being told what to do, and the way I eat now has kept me in good health and good spirits for several years – all without letting calories be the boss of me.
Because diets promote feelings of guilt
I used to think I was undisciplined and lazy when I couldn’t maintain a diet plan. All I had to do was follow the steps in the plan, right? Eat what it says to eat, and exercise how it says to exercise, and I’d be rewarded. When a diet inevitably didn’t work out, I’d feel so much guilt and disappointment in my lack of willpower that I’d wallow in the misery of knowing I would never get my act together or have a healthy, fit body like the diet promised. To me, dieting was The Answer, and if I couldn’t follow a diet through, then I would never achieve the results I wanted.
It makes me sad that not only did I spend so much energy deeply enveloped in guilt, but that many, many, many of us do. Did we ever wonder why? Diets promote the kind of disordered thinking that makes us believe we can’t achieve our goals without them! What a business tactic, right? It’s only natural that if we fail at something we’ve been taught to believe is The One Way, guilt is soon to follow. When I got serious about creating a healthy lifestyle of my own, the first thing I decided to kick to the curb was guilt. I gave myself permission instead – permission to eat the way I wanted to eat and not how someone else said I should eat.
Well…what’s next, then?
If dieting isn’t the way to a healthy long-term lifestyle, you may be wondering where to go from here. What’s next? I’m so glad you asked, my friend. Next week, I’ll be starting the first of a new series on intuitive eating. I am REALLY excited! It is GOOD STUFF.
What the heck is intuitive eating, anyway? There are 10 principles that make up the whole sphere of intuitive eating, and I’ll be discussing one of these here each week. And the first principle? Reject the Diet Mentality. The definitive book, which I am currently reading, is called ‘Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works‘. As it just recently came into my hands, imagine my shock when I flipped to the table of contents and found that the principles are EX-ACT-LY what I’ve already been doing for the past 3 years with amazing success. I didn’t even know intuitive eating was “a thing” when I started out, so that goes to show how natural it feels. My blog series will also talk about how easily these ideas can be applied to real-life, and hey, unbeknownst to me it has been in my life for years!
In the meantime, I’d love to know your experience with dieting and the direction you’d like to take your own healthy lifestyle. Leave me a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful week, friends.