When are you going off your last diet…for GOOD this time?!
The truth is, many of us don’t start diets with the goal of being on them for the rest of our lives. But somewhere along the way, between the endless calorie counting, the compulsive overeating, a toxic relationship to food, your body, and your health. If you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of disordered eating, you’re not alone.
An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year!
In fact, as a Functional Nutrition and Eating Psychology coach, I’ve helped hundreds of other women who’ve been where you are and have experienced the same things. Things like…
- Feeling ashamed or even fearful of certain foods, and how they’ll affect your body.
- Never feeling good enough to eat what you want, depriving yourself of your favorite foods until you’ve “earned” them.
- Spending your precious time, energy, and sanity trying every diet you can, but never finding one that “works” the way you want it to.
If you’re anything like my clients, you’re fed up with these endless cycles of dieting, overeating, and feeling out of control around food. But even though you know another diet won’t solve your problems, you just can’t stop. You’re afraid if you give up dieting, you’ll lose control, and all your biggest fears around food will come true. The reality is, dieting is what’s keeping you stuck.
Research has shown that chronic dieting is the leading precursor to disordered behaviors like binge eating, food obsession, and eating disorders. If you want to find true food freedom, the answer isn’t another diet. It’s reconnecting with yourself.
So many of us have been taught that we need to “weigh less in order to live more,” but I believe we have to live more in order to weigh less. We have to stop waiting on the weight and connect to what truly nourishes us from the inside out. So…what’s a chronic dieter to do?
If you’re ready to overcome your emotional blocks around food, start with these four tips:
- Get curious about your WHY. What’s triggering your disordered eating? Instead of judging yourself for starting another diet or giving into another binge, practice awareness instead. Were you trying to distract yourself from an uncomfortable emotion or overwhelming task? Or were you simply bored and looking to fill the time? Exploring the context around these disordered behaviors is a necessary first step for healing.
- Separate hunger cues from emotional cues. It can be difficult to recognize the difference between eating because you’re hungry, and eating as an emotional response. Learn to separate the two by paying attention to your hunger signals. On a scale of one to ten, just how hungry are you?
- Take notice of how you eat. This may sound crazy, but how you eat is just as important as what you eat. At its core, disordered eating is driven by your environment and your emotions. Start paying attention to your attitude towards food, the amount of food you’re eating, how you balance your meals, and your personal eating habits. This way, you can make empowered choices that support your health rather than punish it.
- Practice saying “no.” This isn’t about avoiding foods you label “bad,” but avoiding those emotionally charged situations (triggers) that sabotage your efforts. Remember, saying NO to those urges means saying YES to yourself.
I challenge you to try these tips out for yourself and see what patterns, beliefs, and habits start to emerge. By creating awareness around your disordered eating, you’re taking the first step to breaking the cycle.