Remove the baggage that comes with the diet mentality! Start fresh and honor what’s most important: a happier and healthier you.
You want to feel better, feel healthier. No matter how hard you’ve tried to lose weight after hitting the big 4-0, the scale won’t budge. You’ve tried every diet imaginable, from counting points, to counting calories, to logging everything you eat, to detoxes, to taking the Whole30 challenge, to smoothies and juice cleanses.
Maybe you’ve lost some weight in one program or another, but those pesky pounds always find their way back. You run, walk, take spin classes, or maybe you don’t workout at all, because you just can’t seem to find time for it. You’re a boss in every aspect of your life, but lately you just don’t feel good and your body is suffering.
How about taking a different, more holistic approach?
One that doesn’t involve diet restrictions, torturous workouts, or obsessing over what you eat. It involves understanding that the mind, body and soul are connected, and we must honor all three to help transform your health and well-being. By being more mindful and more present in your life, here are the 3 things you must remove from your life so you can fill it with more peace and joy.
1. Stop Dieting.
Dieting doesn’t work. Let me repeat that again. Dieting. Does. Not. Work. 95% of diets fail. Yet, diet culture is pervasive and everywhere you turn you’re bombarded with rules to eat this, not that; good food vs bad food; eat low carb; sugar is evil; you should eat every three hours; go vegetarian; eat clean; don’t eat after 8pm…. The list of food rules goes on and on. As human beings, we want things to fit into specific categories and nice pretty little boxes.
Nutrition, however is not black and white.
It isn’t one size fits all, and there isn’t one way of eating that works best for every individual. It’s about finding what works best for your metabolism and unique needs. When we shift away from thinking about our food choices as good or bad, we can begin to view our choices with more compassion.
2. Remove the food rules.
Our choices in life will never be perfect. While there are foods that better nourish healthier bodies, such as whole, unprocessed plant-based foods, that doesn’t mean fries, ice cream, pizza or cake doesn’t have a place in your life. It doesn’t mean you need to restrict or deny certain foods (assuming you don’t have any true food allergies). The moment we consciously deny ourselves something, the more likely we will crave it more and more. All of those rules that have driven you to diet ignore one of the most vital concepts of true nourishment –
You are your own expert. Be you!
When you tune into your body, distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and honor your hunger and fullness cues, you will naturally choose foods that are both nutrient dense and enjoyable. Yes, food should be enjoyed! Instead of trying to follow a perfectly laid out plan, let go of the diet mentality and food rules and start asking yourself why you chose to eat a certain food. Did you choose it because you were physically or emotionally hungry?
Next, tune into how you feel after eating certain foods. Did that food leave you feeling energized or sluggish and depleted? Learning to trust your body and listen to your instincts, is a critical step in breaking free from diet mentality, and establishing a better, more holistic relationship with food.
3. Stop focusing on the scale.
Your weight is not a behavior that you have control over. Instead, focus on the actionable things that you can do each day, each week, each month for better health. How many times have you felt energized, healthier, only to step on the scale and it didn’t budge or moved in the opposite direction? You feel depleted and resolve that your efforts don’t matter. So, you drop everything you were doing and go back to your old ways, despite the fact that you were actually feeling better.
Ask yourself: what do you love about you?
Will that change if you lose weight? Will you be less funny, less smart, less charismatic if you lose 5, 20 or 50 lbs? While we should all continue to strive for better health, stop focusing on a specific number on the scale. Instead, love and appreciate your body for the gift that it is right now, and focus on the activities that help you feel your best. Truly caring for yourself starts with you loving every bit of you, and that has nothing to do with how much you weigh.
Here’s a challenge to try: take a few months and don’t weigh yourself. During this time, write down three to five things that you love about yourself and your body, and assess if those feelings change during your time of lovingly releasing the scale. This can provide a sense of freedom, but it may also bring up judgement, fear and self-doubt, which is normal. Be gentle and curious with yourself during this time period, and extend the same grace and compassion to yourself as you would to a loved one.
Remember, a number on the scale does not define you or determine your success. You’re worth so much more than that!
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Basheerah Enahora, MBA, MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian based in Charlotte, NC with a private practice focused on helping women look past their weight as a measure of success and embrace a holistic, nourishing lifestyle. She empowers women to create embrace a better life by replacing neglect, shame, and negativity around food with self-love and proper nourishment. Learn more about Basheerah at BE Nutrition.