Dieting felt like a way to be in control of your life and eating.
A framework or boundaries for your day to day life; one that left you feeling stable – just follow the rules about what to eat and everything would be okay…
Of course it wasn’t okay, but that’s another story.
And yes you’re sick to death of dieting. You don’t want to diet anymore. You want to eat healthy in a non-diet way. But it’s tough. You feel totally out of control. There are no rules, no boundaries, no framework. How do you know if you’re doing it right or not?
It feels like there’s a simple solution: just go back to following the diet rules and you’ll be back in control. So simple. Why can’t I just do it?
Only it’s not that simple. It never is with diets. Because we now know, those diets don’t work (hello weight regain) and often cause more harm to our body and emotional wellbeing (guilt and shame, the co-pilots of The Diet Lie).
It feels like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place… argh!
So what do you do?
Well you buckle up and get ready for 3 fabulous tips to help you wrestle back control of your life WITHOUT the need for dieting…
Tip 1 – Diet Rules Create an Inner Rebellion
You know what I’m talking about right?
You decide you’re not going to eat chocolate any more and for a few short days or weeks life is good. But then you start thinking about chocolate all the time, craving chocolate every day and finally it becomes too much… you think “screw it!!!” buy the chocolate and eat the whole damn chocolate bar.
Now you feel sick (and guilty). And maybe like a bit of a failure. But you’re not a failure – you’re actually just acting out a pretty normal phenomenon – restriction something and you’ll crave it and rebel (check out the restriction-cravings cycle below).
The solution is not to get more willpower (which frankly, doesn’t even exist according to new research).
Or to avoid chocolate for the rest of your life.
YOUR SOLUTION: Don’t make or follow diet and food rules. Instead give yourself permission to eat whatever you feel like.
Yes it’s tough. And yes you might behave like a kid in a candy store for a while. But it won’t last forever. Get yourself some tips to work through the food freedom right here. With time you’ll create a happy, comfortable relationship with those foods and, dare I say it, you’ll eat it moderately instead of restricting and binge eating.
Tip #2 – Under-Eating Causes Over-Eating
It’s kinda like some weird Alice in Wonderland reality. Everything is upside down and back to front in Diet-Land. You might expect the Cheshire Cat to appear and disappear at any moment like in the movie.
But in Diet-Land nothing is as it seems.
You might start the day with the best of intentions in Diet-Land, remember? A light breakfast, a ‘healthy’ morning snack, a salad for lunch… but by mid-afternoon things are getting tough, you’re pretty hungry and trying to ignore it.
But dinner time you’re ravenous – but you want to eat that healthy salad and poached chicken breast that’s on your meal plan, minus the carb side dishes (no pasta, rice or potatoes, remember).
Finally after dinner you cave in and start a marathon eating session fuelled by the top shelf of the pantry… ugh. Chocolate, chips, cookies… your partner’s hidden stash.
Failure, shame, guilt.
Another dieting day, another feeling of failure.
But the problem was not you! The problem was the under-eating that happened ALL day.
Yes all your meals were lovingly planned and scheduled, all very well controlled and orderly. But your poor body was starving and starting to panic.
By day’s end there was no other option for your body – if you weren’t listening to its subtle cries of ‘hungry’ during the day, it would damn well make sure you heard them by nightfall, so much so that you ended up massively overeating.
YOUR SOLUTION: Don’t ignore your hunger – you can’t trick your body into under-eating. Instead honour your hunger, and then you’ll stay out of that “primal hunger” zone that leads to accidentally over-eating.
Tip #3 – The Control of Dieting Can Distract Us From Our Out-of-Control Life
Sometimes we don’t want to stop dieting because it’s the only part of our life that we feel like we’re in control of and that there is hope for.
It’s the only part of our life that’s organised.
It’s the only part of our life where we feel like we know what we’re doing.
And we can feel ‘successful’ while we’re following the diet rules.
The problem is – this can distract us from living our best life. From taking a look at ourselves, our lives and acknowledging to ourselves that there’s some big stuff that needs fixing.
Dieting isn’t going to fix your life. It won’t repair broken relationships or childhood trauma, or anything else for that matter.
YOUR SOLUTION: Ask yourself whether the reason you feel like dieting at the moment, is because its a distraction from other stuff in your life.
A way to procrastinate and put off the stuff that you really need to sort out.
If it is, then it truly is time to do the hard work of fixing your life – start journaling, find a therapist, talk to your loved ones. Your real happiness will be find there, not at the end of the diet rainbow.