Have you ever dieted? I am going to assume you have. Why? Most of us have dieted at some point. The diet, wellness, and fitness industry is a multi-BILLION dollar industry. Yep you read that right, BILLIONS. We are so afraid of getting fat so we are consumed with losing weight. Therefore you have probably dieted. Sorry to break this to you, but DIETS DO NOT WORK.
Diets Are Not Effective.
Sure you try a diet and lose a bunch of weight. You feel great and are so proud. Then something happens and you gain weight back. You find you are not following the diet anymore. So you try another diet. And you lose weight. Then something happens and you gain it all back. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)
Diets Teach You What Is Right And Wrong And What Is Good And Bad.
When you eat “good” foods you feel better. When you eat “bad” foods you feel guilty. When you get off the diet rat trap you feel guilty when you eat food that is not on the diet plan. You feel guilty for eating something “bad”. You feel unmotivated, lazy, and undisciplined.
When You Feel Bad About How You Eat You Feel Bad About Yourself.
Dieting causes you to lose faith and trust in yourself. It causes you to feel guilty, ashamed, and uncomfortable. You doubt your ability to feed and take care of yourself. So many of my clients tell me they feel like “failures” because they are not able to lose weight and maintain a diet. But here’s the thing, no one can maintain a diet.
It is not fun to restrict yourself. And again there is lots of research out there saying that diets do not even work anyway. Sure you lose weight, but you will gain it back, and it is harder to lose weight with each failed diet. Dieting causes you to lose faith and trust in yourself and your ability to care for yourself. Dieting can harm your self-esteem.
Intuitive Eating Can Help You Control Food.
I work with my clients to learn how to eat intuitively. Don’t let that word freak you out. Intuitive eating is learning how to trust yourself again and trust your ability to feed and care for yourself. It is a way to learn to love yourself and take care of your body without the dieting cycle.
There are 10 Intuitive Eating Principles.
The first principle is to learn self-care. When you can learn to take care of yourself you can start to kick the dieting trap. You will learn to pay attention to what you need and what your body needs, and you will feed it accordingly. Intuitive eating is used to help maintain weight, and can be used to help you control binge eating and overeating.
Self-Care Steps to Begin Intuitive Eating:
- Physical Self-Care – are you moving your body? This is not about exercise, this is about moving your body in a way that feels good. Yes, there will be calories burned, and it could technically be considered exercise. But physical self-care is allowing your body to move.
- Emotional Self-Care – how are you managing stress and upset? Do you have coping skills to help you manage the upset? Do you use your support system to vent to?
- Relational Self-Care – do you spend quality time with friends and family? Put your cell phone away at night so you can spend special time with your family at dinner
- Boundaries – I could go on and on about boundaries, but I will spare you, today. How are you setting boundaries with your time and your commitments? Do you make time for yourself? Can you say “no”?
Intuitive eating implies that you love yourself and pay attention to yourself. You can eat food when your body is hungry and you can eat what you want.
This is not easy, but it is possible.
You can learn to love your body and love your life. You can learn to challenge disordered eating thinking and behaviors. You can learn to have confidence and self-acceptance. If you find you are having trouble with this, please ask for help. There is a lot of good support and help out there for you.
If you find this information helpful please share. This is a very complex issue that cannot be addressed in a 5 minute video, but feel free to ask questions and comment. Perhaps there is something I can help clarify for you.
Still not sure if you have an eating disorder? Here is a self-assessment, https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/screening-tool. This quick tool is to help you determine if you have an eating disorder and if you should get help. Visit NationalEatingdisorder.org to find help and get more information.
Do you feel you struggle with an eating disorder? Call Dr. Stephanie and see how you can overcome the cycle.
Stephanie Waitt is a licensed professional counselor in Sherman, TX. Stephanie specializes in working with women and men with eating disorders. She aims to help people find balance, peace, confidence, and happiness. In her work with people she emphasizes the importance of self-care and encourages people that being a little selfish is a really good thing. You can learn more at her practice at www.texomaspecialtycounseling.com.