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No more diets
How many different diets have you tried? Were you successful at keeping the weight off? Chances are you lost weight when you decided to adhere to a restricted diet of one type or another, but later gained it back.
Everywhere I go I hear people talking about all the different diets they try…there’s keto, low glycemic index, high protein, low fat, fasting, liquid diets and more. Some of these diets are healthy, while others are not as they do not provide important nutrients. What they all have in common is they are not easy to sustain long-term. Then there are all the companies that offer prepared foods to make weight loss easier for you. What happens when it’s time for you to start to prepare your own food? These companies try to help with the transition, but I’ve observed the weight lost initially with these programs seldom stays off.
To say you are “going on a diet” means that at some point you will “go off of it”.
Studies consistently show that unless you adopt new healthier lifestyle habits that you can sustain long term, keeping weight off is difficult. To say you are “going on a diet” means that at some point you will “go off it”.
I found in my first career as a Registered Dietitian that when people follow formal diets, they start to look at food as “good” or “bad”. This attitude makes it very difficult to enjoy eating, especially in a restaurant. Eating a “bad” food can ruin an otherwise lovely day, and people often view themselves as failures. How can we make peace with food?
How about letting go of the idea that you need to lose weight to look a certain way and focus on foods that work best for your personal physical and mental health? And if you listen to your body, it will tell you when you’re hungry or satisfied so you know when to eat and when to stop. Experts call this process “Intuitive Eating”.
How to Eat Intuitively
Intuitive Eating is an evidenced-based, mind-body health approach created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, that encourages people to honor their health by listening and responding to their bodies to meet their needs, both physical and mental.
Below are some basic recommendations to get started.
Choose foods you enjoy, but eat in moderation
Avoid eating for comfort
Eat when you’re hungry.
Learn to recognize when you’re full
It’s common to sit down to a meal and eat without thinking, stopping when the food in front of us is gone. Do you really need that much food? Intuitive eating encourages people take time to really enjoy their food and pay attention to their body. It’s a good idea to pause frequently during a meal to connect with your stomach; when you have a feeling of fullness, it’s time to stop eating.
The bottom line
Restrictive diets don’t work as they are generally not sustainable long-term. Often their rigidity sets people up for failure. In contrast, Intuitive Eating is not a diet or meal plan. There are no calories to count and does not categorize food as “good” or “bad”. In fact, nothing is completely off limits; moderation is the key.
Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, co-author of Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, further explains on the website, IntuitiveEating.org,
There is no pass or fail, therefore there is no “blowing it”, rather it’s a journey of self-discovery and connection to the needs of your mind and body.
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash
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