WHAT ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON BY DIETING?

Don’t let the pursuit of weight loss and dieting make you skip out on the wonderful things happening around you. There’s a whole lot more to life than your body size.


BY: RACHAEL HARTLEY, RD, LD, CDE

Many people who are trying to get healthy are pretty focused on weight loss. Despite personal experiences showing them that diets don’t work, it doesn’t make the desire to lose weight go away. Some important questions to ask someone who is trying to lose weight:

What do you think you’ll achieve? How will life be different if your body was smaller?

Here are some common answers:

  • Confidence
  • More dates
  • Wear more stylish clothes
  • Happier
  • Respect and envy from other people
  • A sense of identity
  • Better sex life
  • Feel better physically
  • Feel in control

Let’s call this the “thin myth,” the idea that weight loss will fix your problems, and that a smaller you is the best version of you. It’s not true, which is why it’s the thin myth. Spend too much time daydreaming about it, and the fantasy will start to feel real, as if weight loss is your only path to the kind of life you want.

The other problem with living in this fantasy world, pleasant as it may be, is that it prevents you from living in the present moment. It blinds you to the fact your body isn’t preventing you from living the life you want – it’s dieting doing that.

Next time you catch yourself daydreaming about life in a smaller body, I challenge you to instead think about what you’re missing out on when you diet. Here are some examples of things to consider:

  • Missing social events because there’s nothing you feel safe eating.
  • No time for self-care because of the time spent at the gym, cooking, and meal planning.
  • Not eating foods that give you pleasure.
  • Not being able to enjoy family holidays because you’re stressing about food.
  • Difficulty traveling because there’s no food that fits your diet.
  • Mental energy wasted on calorie or point counting or reading about nutrition, rather than spending it geeking out on topics you enjoy.
  • Feeling rested because you “need” to wake up early to work out.
  • Money to spend on fun, frivolous things because you’re spending it on expensive health foods.

In reality, you can live your best life in whatever body you’re in right now. And in fact, to live your best life you have to do that in the body you’re in now.

Because living your best life means living in the present, not in a mythical world.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: BRODIE VISSERS

Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE is a private practice dietitian, food enthusiast, and nutrition expert based in Columbia, SC.  By guiding others to rediscover the joy of nourishment rather than deprivation, Rachael helps men and women alike improve their health and well-being through delicious whole food recipes and practical advice through intuitive eating.
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