Take your pick of online dictionaries to look up:
“A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons”
“The kind and amount of food prescribed for a person for a special reason”
But who does the prescribing of what course of food you will restrict yourself to? The person that created the diet prescribes. How well does THAT PERSON know your body? When you are on a diet, you have handed over the control and power to another person.
If you don’t have control and power to decide, are you responsible for the outcome?
How much love and respect for yourself are you building up as you unconsciously hand over the control to an external source?
Whether you are following a particular diet or counting calories, the restrictions are always external measurements. Never internal. They don’t indicate how well you feel, whether you easily digest that portion of food, and whether the amount is truly right for you at the moment you eat it.
In most cases, a diet is always time-bound. We’re looking for that “end date” — as soon as I finish this diet I’ll be able to go back to eating whatever I want.
But what happens when we finish the diet is that we go back to the same choices we were making before. We haven’t learned the skills of healthy eating. And we haven’t honestly dealt with the cause, only some of the symptoms.
Which one of these diets have you tried?
It doesn’t matter how far back we go; we find a culture of diets and external rules and restrictions. Some of these are amusing, if not down-right frightening.
The fad diets of the ’70s
Who would have guessed that some of the diets that we see around today were around in the ’70s?
- The Master Cleanse – also known as the Lemonade Diet
- Cookie diet (I want to know what this was!)
- Total Starvation (seriously? I will not look this one up!)
- Diet pills
- The grapefruit diet (seems to show up every decade)
- The Sexy Pineapple diet (yum! And it’s sexy! And we know what pineapple does for us.)
- Israeli Army diet (which has nothing to do with the Israeli army!)
- Last Chance Diet
- 7-day Milk Diet (I’m guessing that the milk industry was behind this!)
- The Sugar diet (wow! When they considered sugar to be an appetite suppressant)
- And my personal favourite – the Wine & Egg diet. Seriously. Wine. Eggs. Coffee. What more does a girl require?
And then we get to the fads of the ’80s
- The Cabbage Soup diet
- Cottage Cheese diet
- Beverly Hills diet
- Elizabeth Taylor diet
- Hello Jenny Craig!
- Fit for Life diet
- Liquid diets (protein shakes)
What do we see happening in the ’90s?
- Low-fat foods diet
- Ornish diet (whoever he was)
- Atkins diet
- South Beach diet (wonder how that was different to the Beverly Hills diet?)
- Blood types diet
- Natural hygiene diet (basically prolonged fasting, different from intermittent fasting and at least not the starvation diet!)
- Fen-Phen pills
- The Zone diet
- The Sugar Busters diet (at least they weren’t using sugar any more as an appetite suppressant)
- Liquid diets
- Nice to see you back again Cabbage Soup diet
I don’t think I need to continue – you are probably starting to see the trends!
Everyone has a solution. Restrict this. Eat that. Pay me, and I’ll tell you how to lose 20-pounds before summer so that you can look great at that family gathering.
Do you have one diet for summer and ditch it for the holidays?
We spend all this time, money and energy to lose weight and look good for moments during the year. Often, we try to impress people that we can’t stand, but somehow give their opinion of our size and weight importance.
We put all this stress and strain on ourselves with the restrictions.
But how about facing the triggers of why we eat.
How triggered were you during COVID lockdown and “stay-at-home”? What steps did you take to address the emotions? Or did you simply eat them and stuff them down?
Restricting the food does not address the underlying emotional issues of why you are eating more than what your body requires.
So, summer arrives or a special holiday and we work ourselves into an emotional mess of how to handle those days when you simply forget the diet.
- Is it a cheat day?
- Perhaps you’re making a plan for how to stick to your diet with all of the family and work gatherings that you have.
- Just say no to all those invitations, because you didn’t want to see them anyway?
- Perhaps you should just take your food and make everyone else feel bad while you eat healthily and they gorge themselves.
- Or why not just partake of a liquid diet from the liquor cabinet – it probably has fewer calories.
And when it’s over, you beat yourself up, because you should have just ditched the diet and indeed taken care of yourself!
Rather than try to keep up to some external standard of good food / bad food – why not start to take the opportunity to get in touch with yourself and make your own rules about how to live your life and rewrite your relationship with food?
Ditch the diet so that you can feel good about yourself.
Could you handle no diet – no restrictions and no rules? How would it feel to be entirely responsible for your health and wellbeing? Could you be guided by internal cues, rather than external rules?
The Ditch-the-Diet Program will teach you to examine and analyze in many ways, including:
- How does this food make me feel?
- Does it give me energy or make you sluggish?
- Do I feel light after eating it, or was it too heavy?
- Does it make me bloated or gassy? How does my digestive system respond to it?
- Can I think better after eating this or do you get brain fog?
- How am I sleeping at night? Do my eating habits impact my sleep patterns?
But ditching the diet is more than just internal mindfulness about how your body digests and responds to the food. There is also the aspect of being present with:
- Why am I eating?
- Do I enjoy eating here, like this? The setting and environment? The people I am with? The presentation of the food?
- Your thoughts and emotions – not just about the food, but the whole eating experience.
Ditch the diet out of respect for your body
I encourage you to consider the possibility of reclaiming your power over your relationship with food.
In the short term, this is harder than any diet! But, the rewards, in the long run, are priceless!
Ditching the diet allows you to ditch all the external control factors:
- Counting calories
- Excluding one food group
- External numbers such as size or weight
- Labelling of food as “good” or “bad.”
This allows you to adopt a new relationship with your body.
Exercise your power: ditch the diet.
Notice both your internal and external environment before you eat. What are the factors and motivation for eating and to stop eating?
- Why am I eating?
- Because I’m hungry
- It’s time to eat (external)
- I’m tired and need energy (do you need to eat or do something else to get your energy levels up?)
- I’m bored or upset (does eating resolve the core issue, or simply stuff it away?)
- Peer pressure and social (external)
- How am I eating?
- In a hurry or on the run
- What am I eating?
- Is this what I want?
- Do I enjoy it?
- Does it taste good?
- How does it make me feel as I digest it?
- Does my body need it?
- Am I hungry?
- Is this what my stomach wants?
- Is this what I want?
- How much am I eating?
- Who decides?
- My eyes?
- Perhaps my tongue and taste buds – pleasure sensors?
- Or my stomach and digestive tract?
- Who decides?
- When do I stop?
- Have I had enough?
- When I ran out of time?
- Because I got interrupted?
How you do anything is how you do everything.
They say that if you fix your relationship with money, most other things in life will fall into place for you. I would say that the same is true for your relationship with food.
If you can get honest with yourself about your relationship with food, and how you are using food to swallow your emotions, or numb pain, or pad some feelings — then you will be mindful of all the other areas of life where you are making similar choices.
Ditching the diet may be the best decision you EVER made – because you start to get real! Rather than having someone else call the shots for you, you take back your power.
You can’t want a “should”… I mean… you should want it… but it’s hard to want a “should“. Well, near nigh impossible!
As a toddler, we are really clear on “this is what I want” – either I “want it” or “I don’t want it”. As a toddler, we never have that confusion over “I should want it, but I don’t really”. Our “no” is clearly enunciated at two years of age!
Unfortunately, as toddlers, we also learn that if we cry, we will probably be fed! When my little one was a baby and she would cry, we would typically:
- check the diaper
- offer food
- try to put to sleep
- check for colic