You’ve probably tried playing by the rules: external cues of what to eat and when to eat it, learning what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’, clean eating, Keto and cleanses. The rulebook is broad and ever-changing because moving targets keep us at once confused and coming back to the (verrry profitable) diet industry for more. But what if it’s those very diet culture rules that are holding you back?
The diet culture rulebook
The diet industry tells us that eating isn’t meant to come easily; food is an enemy in need of control. Restriction, sacrifice and misery are the prices we must pay to feel good, and the stricter you are, the better off you’ll be. Believe it or not, it’s the belief, not the foods you choose, that keeps you spinning your wheels. The solution isn’t finding the right rulebook, it’s throwing them all away.
The research agrees with me here; rules and restrictions lead to unsustainable results at best and a survival-based binging at worst. And despite what they tell you, the inability to make it work isn’t a lack of willpower or nutrition knowledge. Willpower, in this sense, assumes that we can override our body’s most basic instinct to keep us alive. As you can probably guess, we can not.
Our bodies are smarter than us
When we cut calories, the body launches strong biological countermeasures to prevent additional weight loss. The more weight we lose, the more forcefully the body fights back. In short, since your body doesn’t know the difference between short-term calorie restriction and famine, it will make. you. eat. And then the feeling of failure sets in.
The blame-game is also part of their schtick. Diet culture sets you up in a game you can’t help but lose and makes you feel like you’re personally responsible when you do. The more we restrict, the more likely we are to fail. Insert shame and guilt and the subsequent drive to get back on that burning wagon and try harder, and around we go again.
Insert effortless eating
Effortless eating is place where your body auto-regulates its needs as you make your way toward your goals while living – and thriving. A place away from the extremes and, unlike restriction, one with sustainable results. This is a very real strategy to both reach your healthiest self – mentally, emotionally and physically – and kick diet culture to the curb. Win/win, right?
At first, this probably means a little work and a big leap of faith that deep down your body knows best. Trust me, it does. And with a little bit of time, and maybe some support along the way, you can get there. This is where a good nutrition coach can come in handy. With you in the driver’s seat, a coach can help you navigate your way to your own vision of health while integrating ways of eating that both satisfy and support your overall wellbeing.
Ditch the rules for good
Eating behaviours are byproducts of the beliefs you’ve been sold, so ditching ideas of what you’ve been told is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ will be the first things to go. The guilt associated with doing so is next. From there, you can uncover and overhaul the beliefs that are holding you back, learn to cultivate a mindset that breaks you out of old habits, learn to tap back into your body’s natural signals and discover what works best for you. Essentially, we’re breaking up with diet mentality for good.
It’s time to ditch the rules that have been holding you back and make effortless eating a reality. You’re not to blame if you find yourself far from this (read that again: you are absolutely not to blame), but you CAN find freedom from all of this bullshit. And we can help. It might take some time to lean in and learn, sure, but you’ll see results far more sustainable than restriction could ever deliver.