A diet was originally thought of simply as habitual nourishment and a way of life. But since William Banting invented the low-carb diet of 1863, over time, dieting has become synonymous with restrictive eating to lose weight. The meaning of the word has been lost, and with the media sending us all kinds of mixed messages and 100s of diets to choose from, it’s left many confused and disconnected from the food they eat. If you want to get to your optimal health (and weight), a good place to start is to throw the concept of modern dieting out the window and instead focus on nourishing your body. Losing excess weight is simply a byproduct. Below is motivation to stop dieting and start nourishing!
Mixed messages cause confusion
We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages. Do this, do that. Don’t eat this, do eat that. Newly improved diets popping up regularly, promising to help you lose weight, get into that bikini and feel amazing. All these messages coming from the media, with diet books playing a big role, tend to make us even more confused as to what on earth we should be eating.
The Atkins Diet, The Lemon Detox Diet, The Paleo Diet, The Zone Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Ketogenic Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Blood Type Diet, The Baby Food Diet, The Hollywood 24 Hour Miracle Diet, The Tapeworm Diet, The Twinkie Diet, The Ice-Cream Diet, The Cigarette Diet, The Sleeping Beauty Diet… and the list goes on and on and on.
With all these options, some pretty insane, it’s no wonder people are confused. Which one is the best, which one do you choose?
Why diets don’t work
We are all unique and no one-size-fits-all.
We may all be humans, but we are uniquely shaped by our heritage, gender, height, weight, activity level, location, and lifestyle. All these factors influence how our bodies assimilate the food we eat. That’s where the term Bio-individuality comes from.
Bio-individuality means that no one diet works for everyone. Each and every person has unique needs. Just like we all enjoy different styles in fashion and different music and movies, we also intuitively understand, on a very deep level, that one person’s food is another person’s poison – Joshua Rosenthal, Founder of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition
There are so many different factors that make each of us and our needs unique, that it’s crazy to try and find one perfect diet for everyone. And even you and your dietary preferences will change over time. What works for you now, may not work for you tomorrow or a year from now.
And so, the idea of finding the perfect diet for everyone doesn’t make sense.
Instead of restricting, focus on eating more of the good stuff
Dieting is heavily focused on restriction. Don’t eat this, don’t eat that.
Besides being a pretty gloomy way to eat, restrictive dieting can also lead to unhealthy ideas about certain food groups. Like the idea that carbs and fats are evil. Our bodies actually need carbs and GOOD fats to function, so they’re not all that bad.
I challenge you to reframe your mindset – Stop thinking about restriction and what you ‘should not eat’, and instead focus more on nourishing your body with good food. Deep down we know what that means – It’s about eating less processed foods, and more whole natural foods like fresh fruit and vegetables.
As you feed your body with more and more of the good stuff, your body readjusts, and you start to crowd out cravings for more processed foods. It’s as if your body finds it’s a new balance.
That said, there is always room for indulgence, whatever that means to you. Remember, it’s finding your own unique balance.
Reconnect with your body
Our bodies are highly intelligent bio-computers and given half the chance they’d want to be healthy too. But it all depends on what we nourish them with.
I just love how Joshua Rosenthal puts it:
The food we take into our mouth goes into our stomach, where it gets digested and eventually assimilates into the bloodstream. Our blood is what creates our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair, our brains and even our thoughts and feelings. We are, at our most basic level, walking food.
Hey, the saying you are what you eat is a cliche for a reason. It’s true! Wouldn’t you agree?
Along the way, with all these mixed messages and fad diets, we’ve lost touch with our bodies – Always looking outside for answers and not as much inside.
We need to take responsibility back for our own health, and start reconnecting with our body’s unique needs, and using our ingrained intuition. It’s there. We know what to do.
That way, we rediscover own personal needs and figure out what truly works for us, and what makes us feel our best.
Forget dieting, and start nourishing yourself
When you move away from the dieting mindset and start focusing on health, everything changes.
With your focus on health and self-love, you start paying more attention to what you put inside your body. You start noticing how your body feels in different moments, and start giving it the care and sustenance it needs to function. It becomes a more fluid process, instead of a “What to Eat” and “What to Avoid” food list.
And when you do indulge in wonderful treats, you really enjoy them and don’t feel bad. Because you know you’re healthy most of the time, and that your taste buds can have a party and adventure every now and again. I mean, you got to let those taste buds run while sometimes!
Nourishing is the opposite of dieting:
Dieting = restriction and self-judgement
Nourishing = eating nutritious food and self-love
Eating food becomes and important part of life again, a way of life.
Healthy basics to get started
I’m sure you’re thinking Okay, so where do I even start?
While diets don’t work because one eating plan couldn’t work the same for every person on the planet. That said, there are some diet and lifestyle changes that everyone can benefit from.
Eat more whole fresh fruit and vegetables
Eat more natural and less processed foods
Drink more water
Move More (5 Ways to Live a More Active Lifestyle)
Watch your portions (learn to know when you’re full)
Start by implementing just one or two of the above and see how your body feels. By incorporating the above into your life, it’s like a ripple effect, one positive change inspiring another. And on you go, journeying towards your healthiest self.
Exercise more, and you’ll likely be inspired to eat healthier. Be aware of your portion sizes and when you are full, and you’ll likely stop overeating and lose some excess weight. Eat more whole foods and less processed foods, and your sugar cravings may subside.
Our bodies are highly intelligent bio-computers, and given half the chance will strive to find balance and be healthy. So keep it simple. Start with these simple suggestions, and listen to your body.
Experiment and try different foods and cooking styles, and notice how they make you feel. Have fun with it and eat different things. Forget about the diet-restricting-mentality, and just focus on eating more of the good stuff. The rest will work itself out.
Are you ready to stop dieting and start nourishing?
I hope this post has inspired you to take responsibility for your own health, and to start listening to your body and intuition more. Deep down you already know what to do to be healthier. Think about it. Right now, I can guarantee that you know of at least one thing you could do to be healthier… am I right?
Find the courage to start trusting yourself more and take that step.
Let me know in the comments what your intuition is telling you – What is one thing you going to do to nourish your body?