DIET IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, AND NOTHING MORE

Diets aren't working for everyone.

Diets don’t work, so let’s all start eating to satisfy. Enjoy your food for what it is: nourishment for your body and soul.


BY: MEME INGE, MS, RDN

There are some really awesome four letter words.

Love, wine, soul, food.

And then you have the bad ones… I won’t write those out for you today. I’ll just let you use your imagination.

But my least favorite four letter word is DIET.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to occasionally say diet when referring to what you eat, its unpleasant use is related to the act of restricting one’s self.

Why? Because diets are miserable. Diets are restrictive. Diets deprive. Diets don’t work.

Oh, did I mention that diets don’t work?

That last sentence is worth repeating on end, but two times should be sufficient for today. Don’t agree? Let’s do a little experiment:

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a diet. Keep your hand raised if you didn’t succeed on that diet. Now leave that hand up high if it made you feel not so great about yourself. Now, let’s all take that hand and high five each other. Just because you “failed” on a diet doesn’t mean you’re not an amazing person.

Let’s take a closer look at 3 reasons why we need to stop torturing ourselves with diets:

1. DIETS DON’T WORK

If you bought a vacuum cleaner and it didn’t work, you’d return it right? It’s not your fault that the vacuum cleaner doesn’t work. However, when it comes to a diet, the fault is entirely on you as the consumer.

Hello, guilt.

If the diet doesn’t work for you, how does it suddenly become your problem?

“You don’t have any willpower.” “You’ll never be at a comfortable weight.” “What’s wrong with you?!”

Those are some of the unpleasant messages that diets give us, especially for those who believe they need to manage their weight through restriction. However, evidence points to the contrary and shows that diets can actually increase the risk of obesity. No wonder that diet didn’t work!

2. APPRECIATE FOOD

What if we just started appreciating food for what it does for us — nourishing our bodies and souls. Is that really such a novel idea? After all, food provides us with energy and gives us pleasure from its aroma, appearance, and taste. Sometimes food doesn’t offer any sort of nutritional benefits, but it offers benefits in your wellbeing.

Everybody needs to have a cookie every now and then.

It’s exhausting spending so many years worrying about calories, carbs, or whatever villainized food-of-the-week, where you never feel 100% comfortable in your body. It’s even harder to trust your body when the diet culture is trying to tell us otherwise. Diets accuse you of not knowing your own body, and say: “You don’t know what’s good for your body. You shouldn’t be eating certain things.”

Stop listening to those falsehoods, and start being more mindful of your food choices and how they make your body feel. By listening to your body and (more importantly) trusting that your body knows exactly what it needs, you can eat nourishing meals and exercise without guilt. Go ahead and eat that cookie, and stop eating when you realize you’re starting to feel uncomfortably full. Your body has had enough food.

3. EAT TO SATISFY

Now that you’re ready to ditch the diet mentality, go through your cabinets and toss the diet food. Give away those diet books, take a deep breath, and actually taste your food.

Eat until you are truly satisfied, comfortable, and energized.

That’s important to remember, because this isn’t a free-for-all eating fest. This is about paying attention to what foods feel good in your body, what foods give you energy, and what foods taste amazing. When you are eating (or drinking), take the time to really notice how it tastes, and eat until your body and mind are satisfied.

So let’s all raise a glass and toast to eating real food when our body needs it, and enjoy every single bite of it.

Cheers!

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: EVAN KIRBY

Meme Inge, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in San Diego. She shares approachable, nourishing recipes to prove that living a healthy lifestyle can be budget-friendly, delicious and fun. Get to know more about Meme at Living Well Kitchen.

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