I’ll let you in on a little secret: diets do NOT work.
Not long term anyway. Research shows that people who diet usually gain back the weight + more after 5 years.
There, cat’s outta the bag.
If you’re stuck in the common diet trap of going on a diet then falling “off the wagon” mode, you know this is true. Diets are temporary fixes to a fundamental flawed relationship with food and nourishing your body. And if you have a pulse and are even mildly affected by our food obsession, it’s soooo super easy to struggle with knowing how and what to eat.
I want to be clear that there is no shame in this. There is no shame in wanting to lose weight or feel better in your skin either. What is ashame is diet culture making us believe that we are less than because we weigh a certain weight or don’t look like people in fitness magazines. After being sucked into the bs diet culture for over two decades, I filed for divorce and got hot and heavy with cultivating mindful and intuitive eating skills. This is my jam, and I’m kinda passionate about it because if I can help avoid the food and body struggle for people out there who think there is no other option, then I can sleep better at night. And since sleep is a beauty nutrient, I thank you for helping me out in that department!
So let’s back up and talk about this mindful eating concept.
The first time I heard about mindful eating, ugh, it was so uninteresting. Perhaps unappealing is the right term. Same for the tenth time I heard it. But eventually it will wear you down and when you are ready to work with your habits with the goal of having a healthier relationship with food and your mind AND your body, then you will. And when you do you will wonder why it took you so long but don’t stress, it happens to a lot of us. When you are ready to change, you are ready. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Mindful eating circled around my personal orbit many, many times before I was willing to bite. Like everything else, it’s all about timing. But there is the saying, no better time than the present…
I recently did an interview with Michelle May, M.D. who created the Am I Hungry? mindful eating program. I’m a facilitator for her program and wow, WOW I wish this was something that we were encouraged to learn about in our dietetic internship program. Actually I wish this was part of our required undergrad coursework because many soon-to-be dietitians are struggling with the food/body piece too. You know the saying, healers heal thyself, right?
What I would say to my younger self is this: don’t waste time falling for the diet trap. Don’t waste mental space on all the blah blah blah diet stuff. It will suck the life out of you and make you miserable in your own precious body. Instead, place your time and energy on cultivating sustainable mindful eating skills NOW. This is the better investment of your time, energy, and life! UGH if only my experienced NOW self could’ve had a major sit-down with the stubborn younger me. Ya know she probably wouldn’t have listened to wise me anyway!
We are heading full steam ahead into the holiday season. A time when the majority of Americans struggle with emotional eating related to family drama and stress (I hear it from clients all. the. time.). Food is so easy to use as a drug, to check out. It’s easier to tune out instead of into our emotions and really figure out what’s going on. I get it. Really, I totally get it. The mindful stuff is work. It takes courage and requires you to be vulnerable. But like anything worth having, it’s perhaps some of the best work you will do if you struggle with food and body image. Because there is NO peace like having peace with the body you live your entire life in and having peace with the food you will feed your body with. It’s a two for one deal and it’s a saving grace for so many people (myself included 110%). And you can be one of them too.
You MIGHT want to consider mindful eating if your mindset sounds like this:
“I’m going to eat 1200 calories of a low carb diet and burn 500 calories a day for the next two weeks.”
“When the holidays hit I’m going to “cheat” and eat whatever I want for Thanksgiving weekend and then burn it off in the gym, avoid alcohol, do a detox diet or Whole30 and only eat a “clean” whole foods diet for the next two weeks.”
“I’m going to lose 5 pounds during the holidays hit so I can cheat at all the parties and have some wiggle room with the scale.”
It actually hurts me to write that stuff because yup, been there a million and one times. Ok so maybe that’s an overstatement but every year for roughly two decades felt like a million times on the struggle bus. I didn’t know there was another way. But I can tell you that if you are curious and willing to take a personal mindful eating journey, learning how to recognize the cues you body gives you on how to properly nourish it, without judgment or shame, it can be completely transformative.
I remember Michelle saying that to me, how mindful eating can shift my diet belief mindset, and it felt like a tough sell. I mean, I was deeply engrained in diet culture. Being hungry felt scary because it meant a decision to eat had to be made. But what do you eat? The classic blah “diet food” or what you really want, what you crave, what truly sounds good?
TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY WILL LEARN, SCHEDULE, ETC…