You know when you think so much about something, that you start seeing it everywhere? It's almost like it's following you around!
Lately I have been thinking about diets. More specifically, how I really dislike them. I suppose we have all heard that: "Sure, diets don't work. We need a new 'way of eating', a lifestyle change". Upon further inspection, that new 'way of eating' has so many rules and regulations, that you are back at square one. Questioning yourself, falling off the wagon, feeling guilty or anxious when eating, confused about what to eat, trying yet another 'lifestyle change' and generally freaking out that you're getting old, tired and unhealthy. That all the other people are doing it better than you... and the snow ball has well and truly started rolling. This is a diet in disguise.
In the middle of thinking about my dislike of diets, these all happened in less than a week:
A dear client of mine posted a joke on social media implying that our happiness is a direct correlation of our weight on a scale
Another lovely client cried in fear of putting on weight, after having to slow down her exercise routine due to an injury
A young lady contacted me wanting a meal plan to lose weight, after a failed body challenge at the gym
A close friend asked me for a crash meal plan, as she had one month to look great before her brother came to visit
Is it following me? The horrible truth that many of us are getting sucked into the dieting world, trying to fit in, comparing ourselves to social media ideals and drowning in 'should', 'must' and 'have to'? Is it just me, or do you feel like that too?
I have been following a non-weight centric approach for a long time time now, you know I never use the scales in my office and you know the face I make when you ask me for a detailed meal plan. I do this because I know the rabbit role it can take you down, I've been there. During my Master of Nutrition & Dietetics, I honestly thought that in one of the classes, I would receive a piece of paper with detailed instructions for getting the perfect body and ultimate health, and that I could then pass this around to other people, and we would all look like Beyoncé . That piece of paper never came, instead, what came was a period of self judgement, food rules until the cows came home, fear of being seen eating a 'naughty' food, feeling like a fraud... and with that, an extra 10kg, less enjoyment in the activities I always loved and a distancing from the few friends I had in a new country.
Thankfully some part of me thought this was a terrible idea and searched for an alternative. What got me out of that was questioning my beliefs around food and exercise.
Why was I doing it? Was it coming from a place of fear and punishment? Something like "I must exercise 7x/week otherwise I will be flabby and slow". Or was it coming from a place of nurture and respect? "Exercise is fun! I love learning new movements and seeing what I can do".
Eventually I learned to trust my body, to provide it with joyful movement, to make peace with all sorts of foods (except oysters) and with that, be able to make choices I was happy with. For many years I have had no idea how many calories I am consuming, or grams of fat, carbs or protein. I eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full, sometimes I eat something purely for the taste of it, sometimes I eat too much, sometimes I eat too little. It feels fantastic!! I would like to help you do the same.
Hobart ladies!! I've got something for you:
I have put together a group program to talk about intuitive eating, an immensely helpful concept in leading a diet free life. It will help you really break free from dieting and rebuild the trust in listening to your body, without fearing hunger and dreading you will lose control over food. It is definitely not going to be a quick fix, and you will need to do some work. But it will be worth it.
Learn more and register here.