Dieting Does Not Allow Habits to Form

The definition of dieting:

\restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight/

Oof, even just typing that makes me upset. Not the part about losing weight. Although I am HAES and support intuitive eating, I am not anti-weight loss (I believe in other ways to lose weight!) and I support those who want to lose weight in a mindful and non- restrictive way.

The word in that definition that makes me cringe is: restrict. The word restrict- automatically makes me want to do whatever I am suppose to restrict. Do you remember as a child if an adult told you not do something, you automatically wanted to do it?

This is one thing that as humans we never “grow out of.” We are human. It is normal to have these feelings towards restriction.

Dieting. Does. Not. Allow. Habits. To. Form.

This is one of my favorite visuals for talking about diets. So let’s talk about it.

  1. Forbidden Foods. So when we tell ourselves we must restrict certain foods these are the forbidden foods. Maybe we were told from google that we “shouldn’t eat these.” Or maybe our friends had success when they cut out carbs. Whatever this food is – they are now off limits.
  2. Break restraint. It is inevitable, when we restrict (look above!) that we will consume this forbidden food.
  3. Forbidden Fruit Backlash. So now we start to consume this food in quantities that we typically would not consume, but because we had it forbidden we now feel the need over-consume this item.
  4. Feeling guilty and lack of control. We then start to feel guilty for consuming this product and a sense of not being able to control ourselves around this food.
  5. False evidence: Eating must be constrained. We then start to believe that this food, which we have been over-consuming, must now be constrained in order to have control again, and thus we start back at number one again.

When we are in this process, we can never actually trust our bodies or trust our food. This is a cycle that I love to help people break. This cycle is the essences of dieting. And again this cycle will not allow for habits to form, because we are constantly in this horrible cycle.

So how do we get out of this “diet cycle?” It takes a bit of work, patience and time. This is where intuitive eating can really be helpful, but it can’t be done with a snap of your fingers. It must be intentional, and you must have some guidance. If you are looking for guidance I offer a guided program specifically for intuitive eating!

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  1. Pingback: Navigating Food Choices This Holiday Season – Elizabeth Beil Nutrition

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