I'm sure I can speak for most women, and more recently men as well, that dieting has drawn you in one or more times in your life. I used to religiously diet on and off for years. From the age of 18-25 I have been on some type of "special" diet. High protein, low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, low protein, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, ketosis, pescetarian, cabbage soup, elimination diets, you name it, I've tried it.
This is my consensus, which one is the best? All of them and none of them. Which one works? All of them and none of them. Which one would I recommend? All of them and none of them (but particularly none of them). All of these diets will work and then all of these diets will fail. You will for sure lose weight, and you will absolutely gain it back. Chronic dieting (CD), is a virus that is sweeping the nations and has been "winning" for the past 5 decades.
Chronic Dieting Definition:
Someone whose world is ruled by constant, long term, on and off dieting and food restriction.
Chronic Dieting is:
Chronic Dieting demeans us, it keeps us small, affirms that we are not enough, that we are unlovable, it disembodies us, and is a waste of our Life energy. If dieting worked, why would we need to be on them continuously? "There is absolutely zero clinical or experimental or accepted research that validates long term on and off dieting as a sustainable weight loss strategy".
The truth is that dieting may seem to make sense, but we have been deceived into believing that something that causes so much harm to the body is actually good for us. CD is a gateway drug to shame, it takes us out of the present and puts us into an unattainable future. CD makes us believe we are a part of a special social club, it's like a competitive sport. It makes us feel like we have something to work towards, and yet our goals are rarely reached or barely maintainable.
CD is it's own religion. It has it's own set of rules, it asks a lot of us, it asks us to have faith, and we must perform daily rituals to meet the requirements of it. Religion of any sort binds you. Relationship is the antidote for religion, whether with soul, spirit, body, or food.
CD causes unwanted health challenges. "A great number of food and health issues, such as fatigue, poor digestion, low mood, immune problems, headaches, constipation, binge eating, inability to lose weight, and more"...
CD is anti-weightless because of protein and essential fat deficiency that usually follow the protocols. CD or food restriction puts the body into survival mode and creates a stress response. When the stress response is activated our digestion is impaired because blood is shunted away from the stomach and towards the extremities to prepare the body to fight or flee.
Increased stress means:
- Increased: cortisol, insulin, fat deposition, neuropeptide signalling for appetite
- Decreased: mitochondria number and function, thyroid, growth hormone, sex hormone, oxygen intake and utilization, muscle building
More often than not, when we CD we cut out fat because we are made to believe that fat makes us fat. This couldn't be further from the truth. We NEED fat, without any fat on our bodies we would die. We need EFA's in our diet to promote cell function, brain cognition, hormone production, thyroid support, vitamin absorption, brain nutrition, plasticity, weight management, and more. We often tend to cut out protein which leads to decreased muscle building, decreased thermic efficiency, decreased immunity, brain chemistry imbalances, low mood, low energy, low vitality, low sex drive, etc.
If you are struggling with unwanted eating habits such as:
- Binge Eating
- Emotional Eating
You are in luck! One of the major keys to overcoming unwanted eating challenges is to discontinue chronic dieting. These challenges are predictable when we restrict the body's natural appetite, when we artificially feed our bodies, or when we are calorically or nutritionally starving. Something like binge eating is absolutely necessary when the body is deprived of necessary macronutrients or micronutrients.
We spend so much time and energy dieting, hating our bodies, trying to find the "right" way, all while failing to tune into our bodies own wisdom. Your body knows what to eat and what not to eat. It knows how much to eat and when to stop. We need to trust that the body knows what it's doing. When we are in a state of trust or faith, we kick the body into a relaxation response, which is the opposite of the stress response. Parasympathetic dominance takes over when we trust and sympathetic dominance takes over when we are in fear. Fear of food, fear of fat, fear of pleasure...all activate sympathetic dominance (aka: stress response).
Here are a few remedies for chronic dieting:
- No weighing yourself
- No dieting
- Adopt movement, let go of exercise
- Increased fat intake- as needed
- Increased protein intake- as needed
- Slow down with food
- Fully nourish yourself
- Let go of artificial sweeteners
- Moderate your caffeine intake
I truly believe that we are meant to live an abundant life. We are meant to have space, be able to flow, to create, to use wisdom, to embody, and to overcome. Chronic dieting is the road to contraction and will rob you of your time, energy, and life. It's time to let go of a set of rules and regulations that hold no merit for YOU in particular. You are not a set of systems and guidelines, you are a person with individuality, who needs something specifically for you. I will leave you with this question:
Where would your energy go if it didn't go to dieting or controlling your food intake/body?
*The ideas presented in this blog have been used from my studies at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and Marc David, Founder and Author. Two of his books that information has been taken from that I highly recommend are The Slow Down Diet and Nourishing Wisdom.