Diets have too many rules that are not sustainable over a long period of time. I understand that following a specific diet may help you lose weight and/or help you feel healthier, but one day you are going to want to break the rules.
Do any of these rules sound familiar to you?
No fruit past 10am.
Absolutely no carbs.
Do not eat anything past 7pm.
Do not eat dairy.
Make sure every meal includes a protein and a healthy fat.
None of these rules are sustainable over the course of your life. What if you don’t get home from work until 7pm? What if you are craving a banana as a mid-day snack? What if you really want some ice cream (made with real milk)?
Following a strict diet will help you lose weight, but when you start to live your life again (aka stop following so many food rules), your body will gain it all (if not more) back. This is why restrictive diets are no good in the long run. Nobody can follow these rules for a long period of time. The best way to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle is by practicing intuitive eating. Yes, intuitive eating is difficult at first but it is the best option.
Here are the only rules that intuitive eating has:
“Delete” all the rules that diet culture has taught you.
Listen to your own body.
Diet culture ingrains so many food rules into our minds - certain food groups are good while others are bad. You have to drop these labels that diet culture has taught you so you can start looking at food as only food. That is the first major step when it comes to intuitive eating. The next step is to start learning how to listen to your own body.
I think the best way to recognize how your body responds to certain foods is to keep a food diary that details what you ate and how you felt afterwards. This diary is not meant to log calories, macronutrients, etc. This diary is simply for you to analyze so you can determine which foods your body responds well/not well to. Notice how you feel after eating yogurt for breakfast versus oatmeal. How do you feel when you eat a smaller lunch and a bigger dinner? How do you feel when you eat a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner? Notice what foods make you feel energized and what ones make you feel tired.
Once you’ve been practicing intuitive eating for a month or so, analyze your food diary. Take note of what foods seem to work well with your body and what ones don’t. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot eat the foods that do not well with your body. What it means is you are now aware of these foods and can actively choose when you want to enjoy them and when you want to avoid them. Knowing what foods work well with your body will empower you to make choices based on how your own body is feeling.
Diet rules followed me around for years and they deterred me from actually listening to my own body. (I’m also super Type A and thought it was easier to follow a diet plan rather than my own body.) Dieting made my life miserable and it wasn’t until I let go of all the rules that diet culture taught me that I could actually live my life.
I’m working on conducting market research sessions for those who are interested. No strings attached - I’m simply looking to gather information regarding what types of food issues and body image issues people are going through. I am going to use this information to create content that will be helpful for my audience. If you want to help by taking my survey, please click here. If you want to schedule a free market research session, please pick your date and time here.
I hope you have the best week and thank you for joining my community!