Ditch the Diet
According to the Washington post, 45 million Americans go on a diet every year. A majority of those people being their diet in January, as a New Year’s resolution. I used to be one of those 45 million Americans.
On January 1, I began the most popular fad diet I could find. The first few days were great. I felt on top of the world and could already see my waistline shrinking. The sugar-free, no carb, fat-free foods tasted amazing and the small, limiting portion sizes made me look forward to the next meal.
Then a few weeks would roll by.
My excitement about the new diet would turn into an obsession. Because I was eating so little calories and missing out on essential fats and the carbohydrates my brain and body needed to function, I would constantly think about my next meal. The portion sizes left me craving more, and the fear of screwing up my new diet haunted me.
The culture we live in is so focused on ourselves – our weight, our body shape, our size. Because of our society, I was raised to believe that if I wanted to be “beautiful”, I needed to be the smallest size I could be. Nobody taught me that each person has their own individual set weight point that their body thrives at. Nobody told me that my size did not define who I was. So I tried those fad diets. I tried to “eat clean”. I went gluten-free. I cut out meat for an entire summer and missed out on delicious grilled chicken and burgers. I labelled foods as “bad” and others as “good”. At one point, I even thought of bananas as “bad” foods, because of their high carbohydrate count.
Needless to say, every “diet” I have ever started did not last.
It’s not because I am a quitter. Anyone who knows me knows that I am determined and driven.
It’s because diets don’t work.
Almost 3 years ago, I quit trying to eat a certain way to stay slim. Instead, I re-learned how to listen to my body’s hunger cues, and I gave myself permission to eat whatever foods I wanted to. I stopped restricting what I perceived as “bad” foods, and I started embracing that a salad and a bowl of ice cream can be equally healthy. The salad has many micronutrients that provide my body with vitamins and minerals it needs. The ice cream contains fats and carbohydrates that satiate my hunger and satisfy my sweet tooth.
Some call this “intuitive eating”, but really, it’s just eating. It’s eating how we were made to eat. It’s knowing when we are hungry and grabbing the food our body craves. It’s also knowing when we are full, and choosing to not finish our plate of pasta, because our stomach is already satisfied.
Diets always left me worn out, and worried about my pant size. Since I have quit dieting, my energy levels have remained high and my weight has been stable.
I used to abide by the phrase “Eat for the body you wish you had”, but now I follow this one: