Diets don't work, so try to eat to satisfy. Enjoy your food for what it is: nourishment for your body & soul
There are some really awesome four letter words. Love, wine, soul, food. Meme is an excellent four letter word, obviously.
And then you have the bad ones... I won't write those out for you today. I'll just let you use your imagination. I'd like to keep my blog PG.
But my least favorite four letter word is DIET. Ew!
Note: I will occasionally say diet when referring to what I eat. When I talk about the unpleasant use of the word diet, I mean the act of restricting oneself.
The second someone says they are going on a diet a little part of me dies inside.
Here's why: Diets are miserable. Diets are restrictive. Diets deprive. Diets don't work. Diets don't work. (That 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... K, 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.
Why oh why do we continue to torture ourselves with diets?!
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 on you as the consumer. Hello, guilt. If the diet doesn't work for you then it's 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. How rude!
If you happen to see the New York Times article regarding the weight gain of the contestants on The Biggest Loser, you can see evidence that diets just don't work. In fact, diets can actually increase your risk for becoming obese!
What if we just started appreciating food for what it does for us -- nourishing our bodies and souls. Is that such a novel idea?
Food provides us with energy and it 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's gotta have a cookie every now and then.
I spent so many years worrying about calories or carbs or whatever. It's exhausting, and I never felt 100% comfortable in my body. Mind you that I was eating nourishing meals and exercising, but I still would get anxious if I had too many calories or didn't exercise for more than 3 days in a row or I ate 2 cookies I didn't plan on eating, etc.
Then I started being more mindful of my food choices and how they made my body feel. I actually started listening to my body and (more importantly) trusting that my body knows exactly what it needs. I still eat nourishing meals. I still exercise. But when I start eating that cookie and realize that I'm getting near feeling uncomfortably full, I stop eating. My body has had enough food.
It's hard to trust your body when the diet culture is trying to tell us otherwise. Diets accuse you of not knowing your own body. Diets say: "You don't know what's good for your body. You shouldn't be eating certain things. You should quit enjoying XY&Z food. etc."
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Eat to Satisfy
Now that I've inspired you to ditch that 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. This isn't a free for all eat-fest. This is paying attention to what foods feel good in your body, what foods give you energy, what foods taste amazing. When you are eating (or drinking) take the time to really notice how it tastes; then eat until your body and mind are satisfied.
So let's all raise a glass (with your beverage of choice. I'm gonna go with a margarita) and toast to eating real food when our body needs it and enjoy every bite of it. Cheers!
What are your thoughts on diets?
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious says
Totally with you Meme! Diet is a four letter word and a really bad one at that! #GreatMinds 🙂 I'll cheers with you to ending dieting and eating to satisfy!
Exactly! Cheers! xo
Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen says
Thanks, lady! xo
Freed from diets says
Yes! Agreed! I have been on too many diets to count and failed. Every. Single. Time. I read "Intuitive Eating" and this book changed my life!! I stopped dieting and started my journey to listening and trusting my body around food in September 2015. I have never felt so much freedom around food! And my body has released more than 50lbs (not sure the exact number because I don't have a scale anymore); with absolutely no dieting!
Isn't it the best feeling in the world when you are finally able to let the diet mentality go?! I started intuitive eating & mindful eating last spring, and like you, it's changed my life & experience with eating! Hooray!
Great post, Meme. Diets lead to disordered eating. We were born with the innate ability to do self regulate. Dietings wreck havoc with this . But we can relearn to eat intuitively, enjoy food and, eat to satisfaction which in most individuals will promote normal body weight.
Thanks, Diane! You are SO right!! I wish we would just let our bodies do their job 🙂 Dieting is the worst!
I'm with you. It sort of breaks my heart to read about the Biggest Loser contestants, yet it doesn't come as a surprise. Eat to satisfy seems like a perfect mantra.
Me too, Katie! It's so upsetting to see how much hard work they put into losing weight (along with so many others who have dieted) and then have it all come back. Not only is it upsetting but it's so disheartening. But yay for eating to satisfy our bodies!
Meal Makeover Mom Janice says
With you 100%. I wish everyone would read this and understand how damaging diets are. Let's all just enjoy the amazing food we have available and eat it mindfully. 🙂
Exactly!! Mindfully eating & enjoying our food is not only good for our bodies but good for our minds/souls 🙂
Great article Meme!!! I'm all for eating for nourishment and good health. Food is delicious!!
Thanks, Amee!! Yay for celebrating delicious food -- that also nourishes our bodies 🙂
Love this! Dieting is so time consuming and seems to take over your entire mindset. So much guilt and shame when you're not successful or when you cheat. It's amazing how much happier and lighter you feel when you simply enjoy food! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Isn't that the truth?!! Thanks so much Kaitlyn 🙂 It's so refreshing that so many people are on board with anti-dieting!