Are you confused about how to eat??
Our bodies are wonderful creations. There are hundreds of intricate processes to regulate our body: breathing in and out, beating heart, regulating temperature. Our culture, however, teaches us several ways to try and alter these amazing processes, especially with regards to our body shape. With each dollar and every advertisement, the diet industry tricks us into thinking our bodies are not good enough, thin enough. We filter these messages and take very little away: diet control and weight control. Kudos to the diet industry for creating such a convincing business! Our bodies, however, are much too smart to be fooled by diet. The battle that our minds try to fight against our bodies creates a vicious cycle and mentality. Our goal: ditch diet mentality by stopping body control, and tune into thought control.
The first step to ditching diet mentality is understanding our bodies. One of automatic processes within our bodies is metabolism, or the transformation of food into energy, which our bodies are extremely efficient at. Any forceful change, such as starvation (dieting), will set our bodies into preservation mode; hormonal and metabolic balance in our bodies shift to minimize the effects of starvation. Over a long period of starvation (dieting), our metabolic rate decreases, meaning the rate at which we transform food into energy decreases, increasing the amount of stored energy (fat) and decreasing the energy spent (burned), (Intuitive Eating, 48). Our bodies have evolved this process to conserve energy in times of starvation. Dieting and restricting food intake will not get past our bodies natural defense!
Similar to the process our bodies have in place for combating starvation, our bodies have a weight range in which it is happiest, called a set range, or set point (although this weight is not one number!), (Sandra Aamodt, PhD: Why dieting doesn’t usually work). Everyone has a different set range that is genetically determined and environmentally influenced in our early years. One of the dieting goals is to try to alter this already-determined range and we often spend years stressing over this task, one that is unreachable. Just like energy preservation, our bodies do an excellent job at staying within this range. Our second step to ditching diet mentality is to accept this range. If we listen to our hunger cues, overindulge at a party, or do not exercise for a couple of weeks, this will not push our body outside of its range. In fact, our bodies are most comfortable within this range, and when we honor our bodies’ needs, it is nearly impossible to push it outside these boundaries.
With diet culture nearly everywhere, ditching this mentality can be very daunting and you may be thinking “I would lose control.” The beauty of understanding our bodies and honoring them, is that you are free from the control that dieting has on you! The fight against your body can end and it is worth it.
Here are a few ways to refocus your mentality from diet to freedom:
● Try to avoid health magazines, these tend to be filled with diet tips and tricks for “losing inches” or “lose 10 pounds this week”
● Redirect conversations, or excuse yourself from conversations, that may trigger diet mentality
● Tune into your hunger and what your body needs in the moment
● Be extra gentle with your mind and body throughout this process, it has taken me years to learn to eat intuitively and is not something that can be accomplished overnight
● Watch neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt’s TEDtalk about “Why dieting doesn’t usually work,” and hear her discuss how our unconscious brain manages our bodies
● Check out Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, M.S. R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A., C.E.D.R.D. to help you on your journey to freedom from diet culture