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That’s how most of my new clients feel.
Which diet should I be following? What food groups should I be eating? Which foods are the best?
Is Paleo best? Or Keto? Or the Mediterranean diet? Or should I do Weight Watchers?
As a registered nutritionist I feel it’s my duty to tell you this – do NONE of them.
As in, DO NOT DIET.
What? Yes really. Don’t diet. Diets suck.
I’ve talked about the harms of dieting before here and here…. and I could go on and on – but the research is clear, while you may lose a stack of weight on a diet, 95% or more of people regain that weight within 2-5 years.
And about one-third to one-half of those people regain MORE weight than they lost, making them heavier AFTER the diet than before.
If that’s not the definition of failure then what is?
So what do we do?
We eat intuitively.
Which is basically just a fancy way of saying we reconnect with our body and listen to it. Our body knows what type of food we should eat, and how much to eat, if we’ll just listen to it.
- But unfortunately most of us have grown up being taught to ignore our body:
- To ignore our hunger – no you can’t have something to eat, wait until dinner in 2 hours.
- To ignore our fullness – finish everything on your plate! There are starving children in Africa!
- And to turn to diets with set meal plans and calorie loads when we decide we need to change our body size or weight.
- How many calories is in that snack? I need to make sure I balance it out with my exercise today.
Intuitive eating has been around since the 1990s.
Since then a fair bit of research has been done, looking at how intuitive eating works, whether it impacts health or body wellness.
In 2013 researchers reviewed a pile of these studies, about 26 studies, and they found some interesting things.
Like that, intuitive eating was linked to:
- Better psychological health
- Improved dietary intake – so eating a wider range of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals
- Improved eating behaviours
- And linked to a lower BMI.
Now I’m not here to suggest that if you eat intuitively you’ll lose weight.
But I am here to suggest that if you keep yo-yo dieting there’s a good chance you’ll gain weight.
So the question is this – do you want to keep dieting and fighting with food for the rest of your life? Feeling guilty about what you eat, missing out on your favourite foods? And slowly getting bigger and bigger after each diet failure?
OR… do you want to reconnect with your body, enjoy food, listen to your body, eat what you want when you want, find your natural weight set point, build more confidence, be happier in your body and move on with your life. To focus on more important things that how many calories is in your next snack?
Take your pick – more diets or intuitive eating?