How many diets have you tried in your lifetime? One? Two? Five? Ten?
How many of those actually worked? Clearly not the first few if you’ve already hit the tenth. So why is it that we try diet after diet when experience shows us that they don’t work? Dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry that banks on our failure. It survives by retelling the myth that in order to be beautiful, successful, wanted, admired, etc., we must be thin. In reality, our worth has absolutely nothing to do with our weight.
If you haven’t heard of intuitive eating, it’s known as the anti-diet diet. Intuitive eating rejects diet culture and encourages you to make peace with food while honoring your hunger and fullness cues. Long story short, it allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want as long as you’re listening to your body. When you eat according to what your body (not your mind) wants, your diet is perfectly balanced. Think of young children as an example. If you offer a toddler the choice between a cheese stick, fruit, carrots or chips, they’ll choose based on what their body is craving at the time because they haven’t been exposed to diet culture. One day they may choose the chips and the next they may choose carrots, and they won’t feel any sort of shame or emotional attachment either way.
If you’re wondering how intuitive eating can work, here are five reasons why it does:
5 Reasons Why Intuitive Eating Works
1. Dieting doesn’t help you lose weight
The calories in, calories out method (burning x amount of calories to compensate for consuming x amount of calories) has been scientifically disproven. Some diets do work at the beginning but you’ll notice that within just a few months, the pounds you’ve lost (and then some) will come back on. This is because restricted dieting is not sustainable for long periods of time. When you restrict your food intake, you set yourself up for a binge later on.
2. Your body needs every food group to survive
Have you noticed that most diets cut out or cut severely back on at least one major food group? These food groups are usually carbs or fats because society deems them as ‘bad’. In reality, there are no good foods or bad foods because each food group has benefits. Carbohydrates, for example, give you instant energy. Fats keep you satiated and prevent you from getting hungry immediately after finishing a meal. Have you noticed that when you eat foods with lower fat content, you get hungry sooner? Fats also protect your organs, help your hair grow, and have many other benefits. The health benefits presented by carbohydrates and fats are not replaceable by other food groups.
3. Your body has a natural set point
Just like your body has a natural height, it has a natural weight as well; this is known as a ‘set point’. A lot of people have a hard time believing this, though, because our weight is something that we can manipulate. Your body is smarter than you are and knows what this natural set point is. Dieting can become especially difficult because your body will fight back when you try to resist its natural set point. When you listen to your cues, eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, your body will maintain the weight it wants to be.
4. Intuitive eating allows you to stop dwelling on food, your body, and exercise
Once you stop starving your body of important nutrients, your mind can be at peace. We’ve all heard the term ‘hangry’ and constant dieting leaves you in a permanent hangry state. Being hangry isn’t pleasant for you or the people around you. Dieting not only restricts your food, it restricts your social interactions as well. All too often, people turn down dinner invites or dessert dates because they’re worried about their weight; but it’s well said: “don’t miss out on 95% of your life just to weigh 5% less.”
5. Dieting can take you down a dangerous path
Chronic dieting isn’t good for your physical or your mental health. To believe that your body is not worthy or not good enough will take a toll on you in the long run. Dieting is also dangerous for people with addictive personalities because it can lead to eating disorders, disordered eating, over-exercising, etc.
Why keep trying fad diets when researchers have found a solution that’s good for both your physical and mental health? It can be difficult to ignore society and retrain your brain from years of diet thinking, but intuitive eating is the only way to have a happy, healthy relationship with food and your body.
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