This is an interesting question to ponder, is it not?
We’ve been taught by the diet industry that we need to DIET in order to lose weight.
But is this true?
What if we didn’t have to diet? What if we could create a way of eating that was just “what we do”?
What if we could eat in a way that was pleasurable, sustainable, doable, and effective?
Whoa! That would probably put a big dent in the $72 billion weight loss industry!
But we have been indoctrinated to believe in the legitimacy of dieting and the concept of “calories in, calories out”. If we just eat less than we expend, we will lose weight.
Another popular concept is that if we just restrict our carb intake we will lose weight.
But do you HAVE to restrict your calories or carbs to lose weight?
Do you have to be following some prescribed program with all kinds of rules and regulations in order to lose weight?
That is something I would like to ponder.
Because most of us have the belief that we do.
And that wouldn’t be a problem if the concept of a “diet” wasn’t so fraught with expectations of pain, suffering, deprivation, rules, guilt, shame, and a sense of “doing it right or wrong”.
Also, a big problem with diets is that we are either “on the diet” or “off the diet”.
And the general emotions that go with that are, “If I’m on a diet, then I’m being good.” OR “If I’m off my diet, I’m being bad.”
Inherent in this type of thinking is self-judgment AND an expectation that someday “the diet will end and I’ll go back to my normal way of eating.”
This is highly problematic because by its nature it promotes failure and with that failure comes more self-judgment.
This is why most diets do not lead to permanent weight loss! Uh-oh!
So, not only do we look forward to ending the diet and feel bad about the whole thing, many people end up gaining the weight back!
What the heck?!
What we need is a reframe around this conversation.
I am going to invite you to imagine a world where you do not have to diet to lose weight.
Rather, I am going to promote the concept of what I call, “Healthy Hedonism”.
Looking at the graphic you can see that there are three aspects to Healthy Hedonism: “Body Wisdom, Pursuit of Pleasure, and Commitment Practice”.
Rather than dieting. I am suggesting that you eat in a way that is both nutritious and delicious, and therefore effective for weight loss AND sustainability.
Rather than following someone else’s rules, make up your own.
All you have to do is eat more whole foods, get in the right amount of macronutrients for YOUR body, and pay attention to how that feels.
Your body is speaking to you.
Give your body some loving attention to find out what it is saying.
This way, you step away from diets!!!
Of course, sometimes you need some guidance on how to do this. But most of the work is around your experimenting with different foods and paying loving attention to your body.
If this piques your interest, you can check out this blog post about how to eat more whole foods and this one about how to know what works for your body.
But mostly what I want you to take away from this is that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DIET TO LOSE WEIGHT!
And in fact, dieting is the old way and I believe we should forget the concept altogether.
That is part of the old paradigm.
It is part of the culture we have of demonizing women for not looking like supermodels, creating unrealistic standards of beauty, and shaming us for not being able to keep up.
We have been taught that if we don’t follow THEIR rules, it is our fault and we will surely fail.
And that failure is somehow a moral deficiency.
Let’s reject this type of thinking and embrace a more kind, compassionate, gradual, fun, pleasurable, expansive, and curious way of improving our health and body composition.
If you’re serious about improving your health and improving your relationship with your body but you’re not sure where to start, I recommend getting on a free clarity call with me. Click the link below.
James W Anderson, Elizabeth C Konz, Robert C Frederich, Constance L Wood, Long-term weight-loss maintenance: a meta-analysis of US studies, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 74, Issue 5, November 2001, Pages 579–584, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/74.5.579
Curioni CC, Lourenço PM. Long-term weight loss after diet and exercise: a systematic review. Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Oct;29(10):1168-74. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803015. PMID: 15925949.