Enough of the Dieting Rules!?
Lots of us have gone on and off diets. We are sucked in by the flashy infomercials, the sculpted people pushing the products, and the promise that we too can FINALLY lose the weight and have the bodies that we have always wanted, because, HAPPINESS.
We try diet #1 and last for a while. Then, life happens, and we fall off. This is followed by intense amounts of guilt and shame for being so out of control. The solution? Diet #2, which is followed by #3, #4, #5...
You get the picture?
The very thing we THINK we need is what causes us to rebel. We are told by the gurus that we can't be trusted. So, we buy a structure, a system, that tells us, "If you do what we say to the letter, you will lose weight." We WANT someone to tell us what to do. We desperately WANT it to work. But, it never does. The diet model comes from a "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" type of mentality.
We are not ONE SIZE FITS ALL people. We are delightfully specific and unique individuals that require a specific, unique course of action.
Enter the "NON-DIET APPROACH": No calorie counting, no macro restrictions, no measuring, and no specific meal or snack designations. Just focus on eating when hungry and stopping when full. Brilliant! Right?
Well, sort of.
We are fed up with dieting and want to break free of the rigidity of rules. So, we embrace the free form nature of eating intuitively. But, sometimes, this can fail us too. Why?
BECAUSE WE TURN THE NON-DIET APPROACH INTO A DIET.
"Eat ONLY when hungry. Stop ONLY when satisfied, but not stuffed." This is good advice, don't get me wrong. Food does taste better when you are hungry and eating past fullness doesn't feel so good. But, we don't give ourselves any flexibility when trying to figure this all out. God forbid we don't get it right. We really let ourselves have it, don't we? By doing this, we have essentially traded one set of rules for another.
Take sleep for example. The Sleep Foundation Organization recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults 26-64 years of age. Well, what if you get 6.5 one night and 9.5 the next? Do you obsess about it? Do you think you are "sleeping wrong"?? Does that mean you failed??? Of course not! It just means that you probably don't feel as well rested when you get less, so your body compensates by getting a little more the next day.
Think about eating intuitively the same way. Life happens. Some days, you'll be in tune and other days, not so much. Maybe you'll be offered some birthday cake at a party when you're not hungry. Maybe you'll get caught up in work and skip lunch when you are. Be aware of how your body feels when in these situations, take the feedback it gives you and then, let it go and move on. What if you just extended yourself some compassion instead of judgement? What if you just realized that you are human and you acknowledge that you are doing the best you can with what you currently know?
Just do your best. It's enough.
Enjoy your life. You only get one.
Be in the moment. It's all we have.