Jenna Petersen, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
March 9, 2021
On again, off again. Nope, I’m not talking about your tricky friendship with your best friend or your non-committal high school boyfriend. I’m talking about a pattern of dieting over the course of your lifetime.
Yo-Yo Dieting is characterized by gaining and losing weight as a result of going on and off diets multiple times. Here are three solid reasons to stop dieting:
- The effects of ongoing weight change are really hard on your body. Dieting is short-term starvation. Starving the body has impacts on all of your organ systems. Starving yourself by dieting changes the way your body processes energy, lowering your metabolism so that your body can conserve as much energy that you take in as possible. Dieting can cause an increase of risk for pregnancy complications, facilitate weight gain, and cause a wide-range of other complications such as headaches, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and menstrual irregularities. Eventually, dieting can have impacts on your heart and cardiovascular system, if you have lost a substantial amount of weight.
- Dieting causes guilt. When you have gone off diets and given yourself the chance to really eat again, did you feel bad about it? Most of us do, especially since it is often hard to control our eating after a period of dieting because we have finally responded to our bodies’ biological need for food. Dieting can cause patterns of binge eating after deprivation. It can also cause an increased preoccupation with food, not allowing you to think about other people, needs, or concerns outside your desires to eat what you’re avoiding. Dieting doesn’t make you a better person.
- The dieting industry and diet culture promote unrealistic body sizes and shapes. Instead of celebrating diversity, the diet industry has promoted a totally unrealistic standard for our bodies: smaller, lighter, and whiter. Diets are often catered to white women. The Intuitive Eating program is aligned with the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, which celebrates each of our uniquely crafted bodies, no matter the skin color, shape, curves, or height. At Women Eat Well, I affirm the Biblical belief that God crafted our bodies with His glory in mind. Your body is a temple. By engaging in the next diet that is promoted by a billion-dollar industry that doesn’t care about your unique God-given body or personal health, you’re supporting those values. Don’t buy into the lie that your body needs to be smaller in order to be beautiful or to be healthy.
In light of those three reasons to stop dieting (or pseudo-dieting, if that’s you), you may be wondering just how to go about it. How do I break the intrusive thoughts in my brain that tell me I’m worthless until I lose weight? How do I stop thinking that I don’t deserve to eat? How can I stop being afraid of eating certain high-calorie or high-carb foods? How do I stop losing weight and regaining it, for good?
Intuitive Eating is an amazing solution to help you stop dieting and start living. The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating are:
- Reject the Diet Mentality
- Honor Your Hunger
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
- Feel Your Fullness
- Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
- Respect Your Body
- Movement – Feel the Difference
- Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition
I could talk about any of the 10 Principles to answer your questions about how to break the cycle of dieting, but it really starts with Principle 1. Any of the other principles can be learned later, yet Principle 1, Reject the Diet Mentality, is essential to moving forward. You must submit to the idea that dieting will not achieve for you the things that you’ve been wanting. You must put weight loss on the back burner. You have to be willing to not restrict certain foods. You can’t demonize sugar (or any other foods). You need to decide to reject the diet mentality and all that it stands for.
I enjoy helping you apply these Intuitive Eating principles your specific situation in my 1:1 coaching sessions. In confidential virtual video calls, I can walk alongside you in this journey of rebuilding your relationship with food. I provide coaching from a holistic perspective, so I also encourage, support, and affirm how your beliefs, work, movement, finances, or emotions intersect with your desire to eat well.
Not sure if you’re ready to take the next step? Send me a message in order to discuss the options with me in a free discovery call!