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Break Free From The Dieting Cycle

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Break Free From The Dieting Cycle
A topic that comes up in nearly all of my client sessions is dieting, and how hard it is to break free from the dieting cycle. There are SO many brand-name diets out there, from South Beach to Weight Watchers to Atkins…even the cookie diet, peanut butter diet, and ice cream diet! I had to include those links so you wouldn’t think I was making them up 🙂 But no matter which diet you choose, it’s exhausting to constantly count calories, ban certain foods, or stay at a certain number on the scale.

Despite that exhaustion, and the fact that these diets clearly aren’t working for people long term since they either move from one diet to the next or fall off track and pick it up again later, it’s hard to break the cycle and just have a “normal” relationship with food.

Does this sound familiar? You feel crappy about yourself (usually weight loss related) so you start on a diet. You feel great in the beginning, you feel really great when you lose some weight, you get frustrated as the weight loss plateaus and won’t budge, you get pissed and depressed as the weight loss ends and maybe even starts regaining, you feel deprived of all the foods you miss that everyone else can have, then you end the diet and give up, possibly binge on all of those foods you’ve been missing…then find yourself back at the beginning of that loop a couple days/weeks/months later.

Food is a really common thing we feel we have control over when we feel out of control in other areas. We often deflect the issues in our life onto our bodies or food we eat because it becomes something that we can easily ‘fix’ or ‘control’. In a way, it allows us to numb out our emotions by focusing on controlling another aspect of our life so we don’t have to deal with them. Can you think of an area in your life that feels out of control that you might be using food as a way to feel in control of something?

Break Free From The Dieting Cycle

Many of us like to feel like we’re in control, but like it or not, there will always be things in life we have no control over. Whenever we’re faced with uncomfortable things in life, from a job we dislike to a relationship we’re not happy in to not looking the way we’d like to in the mirror…we naturally want to run back to something that will distract us. For lots of people, it’s dieting. Basically anything that allows us to numb out our emotions, even if it’s just for a short period of time.

There is usually more than one thing that has to happen to finally break free from dieting for good. Of course everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s body and mind are different, so the ideas below are by no means the magic solution for everyone, but they are some good things to consider and pretty common for most people:

  • Learn to love your body, whatever size it is. We take care of what we love and what’s important to us. If you love your body, you’re naturally going to want to do things to take good care of it, which in this case will help you make and stick with the healthy habit changes you’re looking to make.
  • Question your relationship with dieting. Sometimes it’s the fear of what happens if you were to give up dieting that keep us in that cycle of self-destructiveness. Are you afraid that if you stop dieting your weight will balloon out of control? Are you concerned that with no harsh restriction rules you would go crazy eating all “bad” foods and gain a ton of weight? What would happen or change in your life if you did gain some weight?
  • Release the good food/bad food mentality. Let go of the labels you put on food. When you label them, you attach judgment and guilt to your food choices, which actually does a lot more harm than good. Doing that ​decreases​ your​ self-control​ and your self-esteem, and leads to over eating, followed by feelings of guilt and remorse. What happens when you eat a “bad” food? How do you feel about yourself after?

Break Free From The Dieting Cycle

  • Let yourself eat whatever, whenever. Woah right?! Does it really say that? Yes, go back and re-read it, it does really say that. By removing labels or restrictions you put on yourself around food, you will realize that having all foods available to you whenever you want them, and being able to eat them whenever you want them, you no longer have to over-indulge because another diet or restriction period isn’t coming. Those foods you viewed as “bad” will lose their allure to you, and you’ll naturally be OK not over-indulging in them.
  • Allow yourself to feel everything, even if it is uncomfortable. This will help you to trust your body and know that you don’t need to run back to dieting each time you go through unpleasant things in life. Emotional eating is a really common thing, but building awareness is a great first step.
  • Trust and believe in yourself. This is a big one. Putting your faith in yourself, and keeping your ultimate health goals in mind naturally changes how you view food. You’ll see it as a way to fuel your body and want to use food to help you get the health results you’re looking for. You’ll start to crave foods that you know will help you to look and feel amazing (you know the ones I mean…think “clean” foods like veggies, fruits, meats, nuts, seeds, etc) and realize other foods (like things that come in boxes and packages, loaded with sugar, chemicals, and preservatives) will prevent you from feeling as great as you know you should. We can get into self sabotage in another post 🙂

Do you want help breaking free from the diet cycle once and for all? I have helped many women do this very successfully! Let me know if you’d like me to help you too!

 

 

 

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