- When you’re dieting you’re NOT actually dieting
- The diet industry is seductive
- I lost weight 18 years ago when I stopped dieting
Stop dieting! Dieting leads to an unhealthy body and mind.
Why should I stop dieting?
A reader recently sent me this message:
Hi, I came across your website as I have been struggling with my weight and seeking help. Since first year uni, I underwent chronic dieting, lost 12kg and now I have gained 20 kg from my lowest point through binge eating. I am now clinically overweight and trying to settle within a naturally healthy range (which I was in before dieting) but I have lost touch with all my common sense eating. I’m afraid I’ll never lose the weight and dieting food rules are taking up too many of my thoughts. 🙁
This message captures why we should stop dieting.
It describes how dieting leads to:
- chronic dieting
- regaining more weight
- developing unhealthy habits, like binge eating
- losing touch with what healthy eating looks like
- feeling hopeless
- being preoccupied with diet rules
I started dieting in grade 9 and had a similar experience. Eventually I did stop dieting. And that’s when I lost weight.
Why did I stop dieting?
One day, near the end of teacher’s college, I was in Tavistock Square. As I sat in the grass watching the world buzz around me, an idea hit me like a ton of bricks.
Until that moment I’d only been looking forward. Each time I broke my diet I’d tell myself “tomorrow will be different”. That belief kept me feeling positive. It eased my anxiety.
But there in Tavistock Square I felt frustrated! This feeling prompted me to look back and realize that what I’d truly been doing over the past 10 years wasn’t dieting. It was building bad habits.
For instance, each time I ate something I regretted, I’d say:
“I’ve already ruined my diet so I may as well keep eating. I’ll start a new diet tomorrow.”
But what I was actually doing was getting used to overeating.
We are what we repeatedly do.
– Will Durant, writer
Each time I broke my diet I may as well have said:
No one who wants to lose weight would say that!
But trying to stick to a diet leads to being on and off diets. And being on and off diets gets you trapped in the vicious cycle of restricting what you eat and then eating too much… before going back on a diet.
Dieting is often associated with weight gain, due to the increased incidence of binge-eating— Alison E. Field, Doctor of SciencePairing language with action is a powerful way to make positive change.
That sunny afternoon in London was the first time I saw my actions for what they were. It was the first time I saw my behaviour in a new light.
This revelation helped me stop dieting and turn my attention to getting used to making healthier choices more often.
Feeling frustrated means you’re ready to stop dieting
What the reader is basically saying in her message (written at the start of this post) is that she’s ready to stop dieting. She’s frustrated and wants to understand a healthy approach. I love that she’s proactive! She’s educating herself by opening up, reading and asking questions. These are all important problem solving skills. The upside of any struggle is learning lessons you can apply to the rest of your life.
This reader has accepted that dieting doesn’t work. She just hasn’t put those feelings into words yet. The next step is for her to say:
“I’m ready to stop dieting.”
Are you ready to stop dieting? Say it. Sing it. Scream it! Write “Stop dieting. It sets you up to fail.” Put it on paper and post it on your fridge or bathroom mirror.
Why it can be difficult to stop dieting
The diet industry sells weight loss in a seductive way. They make you think your world can change in a week! But it’s important to let go of that myth and accept that if you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight, you need to stop dieting.
Ignore short term solutions and the desire for dramatic change.
Losing weight and keeping it off is about creating a lifestyle you can continue long term by building healthy habits.
Get used to making healthy choices
Once you’ve accepted that you need to stop dieting, you’re ready to try a new weight-loss approach.
Focus on getting used to making healthier eating and exercise choices more often. This decision could mean overeating one less time per week. Or exercising one more or one less time per week (if you over-exercise). Start where you are and improve what you normally do.
If your experience is extreme like mine was, understanding more about how to stop binging is a great place to start.
At first building healthy habits will feel foreign. Expect a strange feeling. Anything new feels funny at first! Like it might feel odd to eat a roughly balanced meal rather than restricting what you eat. (After eating diet food for years I was shocked by how much food makes a healthy meal; one that helps you reach and maintain a healthy weight. I was so used to eating as little as possible—or overeating. It was always one extreme or the other.) Soon your life will improve and you’ll enjoy your new normal.
THANK YOU to the reader who sent me the message shared in this post 🙂 If you’re going through something MANY other people are too.
When you understand why you need to stop dieting, you’re ready to build healthy habits. Don’t spend another day getting used to making unhealthy choices!
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
If you’re ready to stop dieting then you’re ready to make healthier choices. Please note I said “healthier”! Don’t try to make the healthiest choice. Begin by making one choice slightly healthier than yesterday. Then build from there. For instance, if you’ve been drinking skim milk for a while, you might want to drink 2% milk before drinking whole milk. Sign up for my newsletter below and you’ll receive one of the best strategies I learned.
Stop dieting! The goal of this post is to help you see weight loss in a new light.
Stop dieting. Start living. Focus on your real goals. “I want to know the real thing about you.”
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
Are you ready to stop dieting?
What part of this blog post resonated the most with you?