How to Finally Give Up Dieting for Good
Say hello to the newest member of the Nourishing Minds Nutrition private practice, Megan Perez! Today Megan is sharing her thoughts and advice on how to finally give up dieting for good.
If you are reading this blog post, then you have likely heard of intuitive eating or food freedom. These words are gaining in popularity and being thrown around a lot. If you have found these ideas interesting, then maybe you have begun your own research. Maybe you have read stories about people who gave up dieting, and it was the best decision of their lives! Or maybe you even bought the Intuitive Eating book and read all about the damage that dieting can cause both mentally and physically.
But you still can’t do it. You can’t quite seem to let go of the dream of thinness. Of the hope of a new and better life.
If this resonates with you, I want you to know that I hear you. I see you. And I am not judging you. In fact, I WAS you for a long time. Most of us have grown up with the diet mentality in our households, or at least in our environment at school, with friends, or in activities. It’s really no surprise we hold thinness to such high regards. We have been conditioned to believe that thinness is something to strive for, something to be proud of, and something that only the strong can achieve. This is diet mentality at it’s finest, and this is why diet culture is a 70 billion dollar industry.
“But how?” you may ask. How do you finally make the leap of faith and decide once and for all to just stop dieting? Here’s where you can start.
The first thing I want you to do is to ask yourself why (You might find journaling helpful here).
Why do you diet? You may think back to why you first began dieting. Was it because all of your friends were doing it? Was it because someone made you feel badly about yourself? Was it because you were ashamed that you gained weight after a summer away? I find that most of these reasons derive from other people’s judgments of us. What are you afraid of people thinking about you? And does weight gain make these accusations true? Does weight gain mean that you are a weak person? A lazy person? Or a bad person? Maybe you diet because you believe that being thin will lead to a happier life. You will have more friends, more relationships, and even a better job with a higher salary. How will being in a smaller body help you to achieve this life?
Next, I want you to think about your history with dieting. How has dieting worked for you so far? What has dieting done for you, and what are you gaining by constantly attempting to change your body? Is dieting bringing you closer to your goals of a better life and helping you to live according to your values?
Let’s now look at what life could be like without dieting: without the negative comments we make about our bodies, without the constant obsessing over what we can and can’t eat, without ignoring our hunger cues until we feel out of control around food, and without the feelings of guilt that come after we reach uncomfortable fullness. If you weren’t spending your time thinking about food and your body, what else would you have time and brain space to do? Would you spend more time with your friends? Out in nature? Going to a dance class? Or reading a book that’s not about weight loss? What would a perfect day look like to you? What would you eat if you weren’t worried about your weight? There is one word that always came to mind when I thought about a life without dieting: effortless.
The last thing that I want you to understand is that we have much less control over our weight than we think. Currently, there are no scientifically proven methods of sustainable weight loss, and in fact, what we do know is that you are much more likely to gain weight over time by dieting. Your body has a genetic set point weight range that it functions best at and actually resists weight changes beyond this range. Your body weight is based on many factors including genetics, hormones, medical conditions, and even gut bacteria! Most of these factors are completely out of our control.
It’s important for you to forgive yourself and know that you haven’t failed. It’s not your fault. You can develop trust with your body again. But in order to do so, you must reject the idea that weight loss is the answer. You must let go of control. And you must let go of any shame you have regarding your weight. This is hard work, and you are so brave for making this commitment. Dropping the pursuit of weight loss isn’t about giving up your dreams. The decision to stop fighting your body means you can start taking steps towards happiness now – not at a later date that may never actually come.
*Resource: Reading the book, Health at Every Size, also helped me so much with rejecting the diet mentality.
Thank you Megan for this amazing blog post! If you are interested in working with Megan at Nourishing Minds Nutrition, we are currently offering 20% off all packages to begin in April (with limited spots left!).
Tell me: Are you ready to consider giving up dieting for good?