Ok so it’s more like a couple thousand words but I feel like this isn’t something we talk enough about. Oh sure we talk a lot of what diet everyone is trying these days and looking at excited before and after pictures. We even talk about what we should not eat or can’t eat because we are on one of these diets. Yet despite what we are talking about we’re not losing weight and keeping it off. We’re not getting healthier either.
So are diets working?
The classic answer is no but I believe it bears a deeper look at what is causing that. Are they too hard? Do they not truly not work? Why do so many people gain back their weight plus some after losing it?
There are lots of things we can blame but here too I think blame is the wrong perspective.
Dieting is not the problem. Our approach to it is.
Any diet that helps us to improve nutrition, eat more real food and reprograms our taste buds to no longer crave preservatives is a positive in my opinion. The trouble is the bulk of the food in the grocery stores is the opposite of what aligns with nutrition, real food and free of preservatives.
The other side of this story is marketing and manufacturers spend billions telling us their food is healthy and chemically made ingredients are good for us. That cows and animals are contributing to pollution and crops can be mass produced safely. It’s all baloney. The cheap, slimy baloney that is injected with fake coloring and you’re afraid to read the ingredients kind of baloney.
We have been taken so far away from the actual word diet that it has lost its meaning. The real meaning. It is buried under artificial sweeteners of diet drinks, and low-fat bags of rice cakes. Who seriously eats those cardboard things anyway? They are much akin to Twinkies that will never mold and be the last food on Earth after everything else is destroyed. Sigh. That’s not much to look forward to when it comes to food in that case.
In all seriousness, the problem with dieting is we don’t use it to our benefit anymore. We believe it is a program we follow of restrictive eating and limited quantities that leaves us hangry for the sake of losing weight. That’s a very narrow view of dieting in fact. It doesn’t address how we emotionally crave food, what food does to our cells nutritionally or how we rebuild our destroyed mitochondria from years of toxic chemicals. Yes our very energy and reason we have cravings can be traced to physical intake of chemical based products. Oreos are addictive for a reason.
There is also the emotional side of cravings from the dopamine rush they provide because our own brain has been reprogrammed to want certain foods for certain situations. Boyfriend just broke up with you? Eat ice cream. Bad day at work? Grab the chips and the remote. This is not to say we should never eat ice cream and chips again but it is how we are made to believe we deal with life situations and emotions, by eating them down, pushing them deeper.
Then what is dieting?
Dieting is simply what we eat every day. It is the individual choices we make each time we put food in our mouth. It is the deep rooted why we eat and what we choose to do about hunger.
Somewhere in the mess of the diet industry we have disconnected our body from our emotions and recognition of signals they provide to tell us when something is needed. Food, rest, sunlight, water.
Basic life things that we under-estimate the importance of and have distorted the meaning within.
Dieting is how we support our body, mind and heart’s needs to support it doing what it was designed to do every day. In case you don’t know what that is… it is support to our very life itself.
In all the complexity of the human body it comes down to supporting our needs with food, air, water, shelter, love and knowledge. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was important work that still stands today. I don’t however think when it came up with that he was thinking of cookies and chips as the answer.
How do you diet?
Cleaning up your diet to lose weight is great but our reasons for doing it and longer vision of what that means makes the difference in what approach we take. That means really digging into what the weight on your body represents. We each gain weight for a variety of reasons and knowing what that reason is for you makes the next step more powerful. The trap of the diet world is that if we lose weight our life will be great! Problems won’t stand in our way and relationships will be golden. That simply isn’t true. To avoid toxic dieting we have to clean up the toxicity in our life, emotionally and physically.
Until we really understand how toxic our body terrain has become then dieting simply adds more toxins. It is in our very cells, brain waves and energetic fields. All of it needs to be detoxed and reset to enable our body to work as it was designed. Your body knows how to heal itself. It was made to function at top level performance too. Our job in dieting is to find the formula that supports that growth and performance through optimal metabolic support.
The hardest part of it I found was the emotional side of dieting. We have to learn to process our feelings in a healthy way. We have to express how we feel in a world where we are told not to cry, but to hold it all in and take it. That starts at such an early age in our lives that we may not even remember when we were first told not to cry or let our emotions lead us. I specifically remember being told to develop thicker skin and let bad things that happened roll off my back.
After a while I figured out how to do that to succeed in the workplace. It left me depressed, overweight, stressed and burned out. Nothing in my life felt alive including myself but I was successful, or so I was told and paid.
A good diet is one that honors how we feel as much as it honors what we need physically. If either is limiting, restrictive or makes us feel bad then it’s not a healthy diet. There is no moving wagon to fall off of when you are dieting in a way that respects yourself. This also means things like ice cream and dessert have a place in the wagon and we can enjoy these without the guilt that we cheated ourselves. It is a wagon we want to be on and it going safely down the road that we don’t fall off it.
How to begin a new diet
It can seem counterintuitive because of how we are taught to think about dieting but I recommend to clients they first start with a list of food they like to eat. What appeals to you and why? What food gives you pleasure and you enjoy eating? What do you look forward to eating the most? What’s your favorite dishes? A diet built around these elements makes the diet livable and able to be navigated in the real world.
From there we look at day-to-day eating choices. What does your workdays and weekends look like for food? What do you drink and how much? These elements show us areas where we can incorporate things like habit stacking or swaps that don’t disrupt your life and bring in the nutritional value.
Speaking of nutrition, I also muscle test all my clients to see where they may be vitamin deficient. Balancing vitamins is essential to ensuring we are getting nutrients in our body. Without them we encounter cravings, hormonal imbalances and stress that can lead to illness.
It is important to incorporate the fruits, veggies, starches, proteins and fats in our diet. However, if you are not a fan of brussels sprouts it doesn’t matter how nutritious they are because you’re not going to eat them. We need to build in foods that work for us individually. This is where the diet industry fails us every time because it is an approach of conformity rather than individualization.
To work with me on your nutritional framework and improve what it means to diet in your life, book at consultation at dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online