I want to talk to you a little bit this month about diets and why I class myself as an Anti-Diet Nutrition Coach. I probably haven’t spoken about it as clearly or explained it to you. But, in this blog I want to share with you my reasons and my logic behind choosing this approach when I work with my clients.
To preface this, I will add that statistics have shown that 90 to 95% of people who lose weight on a diet will regain that weight within 12 months. That might be a hard fact for you to listen to and hear right now, but it is important for you to stop, take a breath, and trust that by the end of this blog, you will understand that there is another way. A much nicer way. And today, I’m just going to share with you what you should really be putting your energy into, instead of trying the same old ding dong diets that keep letting us down.
What is a diet?
A diet is a set of rules or guidelines that you will follow in order to alter your appearance. To alter the way you physically show up in the world.
Diets are funny in that they ask you to tune out of your biological hunger and follow the guidance of somebody else who says you have to do X to get Y. It might be something like 25 grams of protein is all you should consume. Or, 40 grams of carbs and five grams of fat should be your maximum daily limit. This diet is dictating what is enough for you to fuel your day.
But, that diet isn’t considering what your energy levels are. They aren’t considering your health, hormones or how you function. And they are certainly not considering the stresses that you’re under. They are not taking any of that into account. And yet you are expected to follow these rules that are laid out, without question. Does that seem right to you?
As an anti-diet nutrition coach, I encourage my clients, when they think about health and wellness, to think about health in terms of their physical, social AND emotional wellbeing. That’s where we should be putting our energy into? Not this metric, or these rules, or plans that have told us that we need to show up in a certain way in order to be deemed healthy. In order to be deemed worthy.
What is the issue with dieting?
Diets are a constant circle of rules and restrictions. You find yourself saying, “I can only eat this” or “I shouldn’t eat that.” We set ourselves up for this really disordered and poor relationship with food. A relationship that, truthfully, is not supporting your wellbeing.
The sad fact, and probably most humiliating fact for most of us, is that when we deeply reflect, we know that the diets haven’t worked for us. Yet we keep trying them. Anything else that we do, that we fail at, we would generally take a step back to reflect and then go try something else. But with diets, the culture, and the messaging that we get from society, which unfortunately does work on people, we keep trying to do something that, in the end, is leading us to failure and leading us to feel worse about ourselves time and time again. And yet we keep doing it.
The collateral damage of this is that emotionally, we then hold onto the shame and the guilt, and the fear around food. This of course wreaks havoc on our stress hormones and plays on how we feel about ourselves and our inability to adhere to, and stick to something. And that adherence, that sticking to something, is really important for us because we’re telling ourselves a story that we need to be a certain way in order to survive.
So often I hear my new clients say, “When I’m thin, I’ll be able to seek a job promotion. When I’m thin, I’ll be able to climb a mountain.” But have you ever stopped and actually investigated whether this is true? Have you ever asked the question, “well, how many people do that, anyway?” Media has taken over and has decided to tell us that we can only do these things if we’re thin. This is what diet culture does. It tells us that wellbeing and health is all directly associated with muscles and thinness and this is part of what has steered me onto the anti-diet nutrition coach path.
Learning to look past the diet culture
So now I’m going to ask YOU some questions. Why would you wait to be the person you already are? Why would you wait to start living the life that you truly desire and want today? All for a metric or an appearance on the external, that really says nothing about who you are or what you are.
For the majority of people, when they think about diet, they really think about weight loss. But why do we have to show up as that thin, muscly person? This might seem odd coming from someone who lives in a smaller body and who has many privileges. But that’s the reason why I’m here to share it with you, Because yes, I do have many privileges, but I also know what it’s like to struggle with a body that didn’t show up. It didn’t show up for many years in ways that I would like it to show up or that society felt I should be.
When I had my psoriasis, and my skin from head to toe, was full of scaly patches, I remember connecting, one moment, with many people who lived in bigger size bodies and I went, “Oh my God, all these years I’ve thought you’ve been lazy. And now, after I faced my own struggle, I realized that you have more gumption, and you have more resilience, and you have more power in you than we have given you credit for! So, my biggest journey has been, for me, to look into my own self, and how I had learned to perceive society, and what is healthy.
Look, I’ll always come back to this, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating cake. It’s your desire to eat cake. It’s a natural human response to eat cake. We naturally want to eat things. But what has made you feel so guilty about it is a culture, and a society, and a diet, and a set of rules that want you to change how you are in this world, that want you to be someone different. Is that really what you want?
Diets encourage primal deprivation that makes us more out of control around food, leading to guilt, stress and a feeling of failure. There IS another way to feel healthy. It’s by choosing to engage in health promoting behaviours that make you feel better not look different.
What I hope this blog article leaves you with is the realization that you CAN look after yourself. You can focus on those physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing states without restricting, without dieting. And, the best person to guide you on that is YOU. We’re born with this, we’re told it’s mother’s instinct. We have the same instinct for ourselves. If we mother ourselves, we have that instinct with us. So, if you engaged your mother instinct, you can choose to care about yourself enough to make those health decisions that will help your body, that will help you flourish with energy, vitality, contentment, acceptance, and so much more. That is if you choose to do it in a way that feels more akin to who we are as humans.
Remember that all the time that we are surviving. And if you remember that, and you forget about the regulations, and the rules, and the guides, and what everyone else tells you that you should do, and instead just do what you feel you can and want to do, you will naturally and instinctively make the right choices for you.
If you would like to educate yourself further on anti-diet nutrition be sure to drop me a message.