Nutrition isn’t really ‘that’ important. Which might sound odd, coming from a registered nutritionist like me.
Nutritionists are everywhere, giving their clients nutrition tips and creating healthy eating plans… Surely nutrition is the most important thing in my profession, right?
It took me years and years of working as a nutritionist to truly recognise that the nutrition value of foods is just one small part of healthy eating. And that our relationship WITH food and eating, is actually far more important than the nutrient content of the foods we eat.
- You can eat nutritious food all day and still be unhealthy.
- You can choose an apple over a chocolate bar, but still have a dysfunctional relationship with food.
- You can choose the chicken salad for lunch instead of the pizza with workmates, but in the process allow a healthy eating obsession to reduce your social life to a shadow of its former self.
- You can look in the mirror and see a slimmer you, but still hate your body and your life.
And that sucks. Big time. Which is why I want YOU to focus on something more than ‘eating nutritious foods.’
Eating Healthy Food Isn’t The Answer
The answer is to consciously not-diet and build a healthy, wholesome relationship with food and your body.
Not-dieting, non-diets, the non-diet approach and intuitive eating, all refer to ways of living that very specifically and intentionally include NOT dieting.
So why should we consciously reject dieting? Because, dieting focuses purely and simply on weight loss and eating the ‘right’ or ‘good’ foods. And those two things can (and do) lead to a pile of problems in our relationship with food, eating and our body (eating disorders, disordered eating, guilt, shame, binge eating, lack of food enjoyment, eating boring foods – yawn).
Ever thought to yourself – “I feel bad/guilty/embarrassed for eating that chocolate…” (or insert other ‘unhealthy’ food)? If you have, then take a look at what my lovely mum has to say about her experience with ditching life as a dieter (pretty sure she used to have a Jenny Craig life-time membership).
Diane’s Experience of Dieting versus Intuitive Eating
When my mum (you can call her Diane) was a dieter, guilt was an-ever present reality.
“Every time when I would eat sweet stuff, a chocolate biscuit, I’d have one chocolate biscuit, two chocolate biscuits… I would feel guilty afterwards. My whole life was guilt around eating sweet stuff, I felt that I shouldn’t, other people didn’t seem to have this problem but I did.”
“I felt guilty most of the time. I’d feel really good when I had a salad, but then I’d want sweet stuff, and I’d feel guilty eating that, or I’d have a normal meal and then I’d want sweet stuff.”
All Diane had ever known or done was diets – whether it was the grapefruit diet or 5 attempts at Jenny Craig. She didn’t realise there was a different way to approach healthy eating, until her beloved daughter (yes that’s me – ha ha!) shared with her about non-diet eating.
Sick of yo-yo dieting and feeling guilty every time she regained all the weight she’d lost during her last diet, Diane wanted to give intuitive eating a go, but she was worried about whether it would work for her.
“I was scared that maybe I’d fail at this… I’ve had a guilt thing for 50 odd years, can I do that? Its going to really take something to change me.”
But Diane really didn’t want to try another diet, she wanted to feel better, more comfortable in her own body and not guilty about food anymore.
After doing a training course on intuitive eating, Diane’s relationship with food and herself completely transformed.
“Knowing that if I wanted to eat a whole packet of mallowpuffs I could and not feel bad,” was a revelation for Diane. Taking all the moral judgements off food, and just seeing it as food to be eaten and enjoyed, and listening to her own body completely changed both her relationship with sweet foods, but also her life.
“I don’t want to eat piles of chocolate biscuits now, because the guilt’s not there now, that’s what I’ve taken out of this course its just been a total eye opener, a revelation.”
“There’s no more guilt about foods that are supposedly forbidden, special or treats, I feel better, I think I look better, I’m more confident in myself, I don’t look in the mirror and think ‘yuck’, I’m just not guilty any more.”
Says Diane, “I’m positive in my head now about the way I eat and so now I feel more positive about myself. The negative feelings have all gone, I think that’s the main thing. I’m positive, not negative.”
After a lifetime of feeling ashamed for enjoying sweet foods, Diane can now enjoy them when and where she likes without guilt. And in the process she’s unleashed herself from the damn shackles of diets, those ones that make you feel bad about yourself – because you didn’t stick to the food rules this week. Yuck.
The Many Amazing Benefits of Intuitive Eating
What Diane describes is pretty typical of intuitive eaters – they discover a new happiness and that there is so much more to life than the food you eat. But also, that good, tasty food can be an enjoyable part of your life too. The point is – you’ll create a nice blend of health and happiness, one that suits you, without anyone else’s food rules.
Intuitive Eating has also scientifically been proven to be associated with both physical and emotional benefits such as:
- lower body mass index (BMI)
- lower triglycerides
- higher HDLs, (the “good” cholesterol)
- higher self esteem, well being, optimism,
- better body appreciation and acceptance,
- proactive coping skills, psychological hardiness, unconditional self-regard,
- greater pleasure from eating, and higher variety of foods eaten
- lower internalized thin ideal, eating disorders,
- less emotional eating, and self silencing
So if you like the sound of being healthier, happier and enjoying your food – what are you waiting for? Ditch those diet thoughts and consciously become a non-dieter.
P.S. Wanna know where to start? Grab this free checklist: