Can you believe that the first month of 2016 is already behind us? If you too are wondering where all this time went, know that you are not alone!
This is a very interesting month that we’re entering, especially when it comes to food and body.
January tends to be the month that we set our New Year’s resolutions, filled with motivation and excitement for this new cycle, determined to say goodbye to anything that hasn’t been working in our lives thus far.
One of the most frequent resolutions for us, women, is to go on a new diet or cleanse/detox, first, to make up for the holiday overindulgence and, second, with the hope that this time will be THE time that we will lose the weight and keep it off -no matter how many times we have already tried the exact same thing, or similar variations, to no good effect.
If going on a diet was one of your own resolutions too, but you never got around to actually starting it, and on this first day of February (which happens to also be a Monday, the most common day to start a diet!!), you feel the pressure to do that, or if you’re beating yourself up for not starting earlier, pause right there and hear me out: you don’t need to go on another diet. Ever.
And here’s why:
#1: DIETS MESS UP YOUR METABOLISM & BODY CHEMISTRY
When the focus is solely on reducing the amount of calories you consume, it is really difficult to get all the nutrients that your body needs to function optimally, as well as create and release the neurotransmitters that are absolutely crucial in regulating your mood, cravings and weight (see: serotonin, dopamine, GABA).When these are not present in sufficient amounts, you’re actually fighting against your body, instead of co-operating with it; you’re asking it to work at its best, while depriving it of what it needs to be able to do so.
When you do radically reduce the amount of calories, after a period of eating more (as we commonly do after New Year), your blood sugar will get greatly imbalanced, your metabolism will slow down and your body will think that food is actually lacking, which will lead to 1. increased stress levels (hello weight gain) and 2. holding on to weight, instead of releasing it (your body’s survival/maintenance mechanism).
What’s more, if you have been dieting on-and-off for a while, emotionally eating, or facing similar food issues, your blood sugar and body chemistry are most likely already out of balance, so the last thing you now need is to create further imbalance, through dieting or detoxing.
Note: I believe that detoxes and cleanses can be useful in many occasions, but in my personal and professional experience, I have found that it’s really important to FIRST stabilize your body’s chemistry, eating habits and, even more importantly, your attitude towards food (see reason #2 coming up shortly about that), BEFORE you engage in one.
#2: DIETS CULTIVATE A ‘GOOD/BAD’, ‘ALL-OR-NOTHING’ ATTITUDE
Diets are based on dichotomy: good and bad, allowed and forbidden, all or nothing, either/or. And these labels are not just limited to food -rather, they tend to affect and ‘stain’ how you feel about yourself too: you are ‘good’, when you follow the diet religiously, and ‘bad’, when you don’t. Worthy when you succeed, unworthy when you fail. And so on, and so forth..
But have you heard what they say about how what’s forbidden gets more desirable?
That’s SO true, when it comes to eating, in specific, and it’s also one of the most common reasons your attempts to lose weight, or eat well, ‘fail’. Simply because…
Restriction fosters rebellion!
It’s a law of nature: the stronger you suppress something, the stronger it’s going to bounce back up!
The more fiercely and strictly you label something as ‘bad’ and ‘forbidden’, and eliminate it from your eating world through force and will-power, the more deprived you are going to feel inside and the more extreme your reaction will be, when your will-power loosens up (and it will, eventually..).
#3: DIETS TEACH YOU THAT YOUR BODY IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED
Diets, implicitly yet strongly, teach you that your body is ‘bad’, ‘greedy’, ‘impulsive’, ‘not to be trusted’ and that it needs to be tamed and strictly controlled by your mind and/or externally-imposed ideas.
We are anyway not very often taught, in our society, how to connect with our bodies and see them as the living, wise beings that they are, and this alienation from the body lies at the very core of our difficulties with food and body-image that have become so, so common these days.
Dieting can only deepen and further this alienation, as you choose to tune out of your body’s natural signals, needs and desires, and prioritize what somebody else (or your mind) says you should be doing. Through repeated dieting, you actually condition yourself to get desensitized to the messages your body sends you all the time, so much so that they can eventually get really faint and you can barely hear them..
Living in our heads and out of our bodies has literally turned into an epidemic.
And yet, there’s SO much wisdom and knowledge in your body -and in your female body, in particular. Every part of your physical being holds invaluable information about you, your truth, what you really need, want and feel. The surest, most trustworthy guidance you can receive that is uniquely tailored to YOU, comes from your body itself. You only need to re-learn how to listen in…
Remember: There is a reason behind each craving. There is a message in every urge. There is wisdom in every sensation. Your body never lies. And it knows more than your mind ever will.
#4: THEY DON’T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE REST OF YOU (YOU ARE MORE THAN MUSCLE & FAT, RIGHT?)
The biggest reason why diets just don’t work is that they only focus on what goes in and what goes out: how many calories you consume and how many you spend.
But this is so NOT enough. If it were, we wouldn’t be here, speaking about it now anyway, right?
And why is that? Simply put, because we and our bodies are not machines! We are SO much more than muscle, fat and bones, so much more than calories and inches.
What do diets and eating plans alone fail to address? Precisely what makes you a complete, complex, feminine human being:
:: Your *inner* body
:: Your emotions
:: Your thoughts & mindset
:: Your Soul & Spirit
When you sit down to eat, your whole self is present -or, at least, should be. Your choices around what and how much to eat, and how you actually connect to food, are GREATLY and directly influenced by all of the above, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Your emotions, thoughts, inner sensations and overall energy, when it comes to food, are AS IMPORTANT AS what you choose to put into your body.
Without taking these into account and learning how to manage and take care of them effectively, they will always get in your way and sabotage your efforts -not for any other reason apart from the fact that they NEED your attention.
Science has proven that we are a mind-body-spirit unity and all of the different aspects of our being are closely interdependent -almost inseparable. So, isn’t it high time we stopped trying to resolve our eating difficulties through partial solutions that can never get to the root of the issue?
So, now I’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments:
What has your experience with dieting been so far?
Which of the above reasons most speaks to you and why?
And would you like to explore a different way to eat, move and live your life, that is FREE of deprivation, guilt and body-shame?
Because, believe me when I say, there is another way!