New Year new me, right? We are back here again and I know how tempting it can be to jump back on a new health kick, and possibly a new restrictive diet.
I completely get why you would want to start fresh and set rules, boundaries and goals for your diet for this new year. I think it’s important to keep striving for better health for sure! But here’s the catch.. Make sure your goals are ACTUALLY prioritising your TRUE health.
What do I mean by this? Well, health is neither simple nor objective. Health is complex and looks different to everyone. Your health is not just physical it’s also mental, emotional and spiritual.
I want you to ask yourself this- is the diet that i’m starting in 2023, looking after my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health? If this feels a bit confusing to you, let me break it down a little.
Physical- Am I including all essential nutrients for my body to function optimally? Like carbohydrates, fats, protein and fibre? Your body needs ALL of these so make sure you aren’t missing or kacking in any of the above.
Mental- Does my diet accommodate for all social situations and the ebbs and flows of life when it comes to eating? Hint hint: your diet is detrimental to your mental health if it creates anxiety about eating out or going on holiday or dinner parties!
Emotional- Am I embarking on a ‘health’ journey that could leave me trash-talking myself? Feeling guilt? Beating myself up over eating things that are normal to eat (Like chocolate!?)
Spiritual- Do the rules of your diet align with your values as a person? If you value freedom and choice, make sure that your new path is giving you freedom to eat all foods and enjoy them without self-deprecation.
I spent 10 years of my life dieting. Name a diet, and I have probably tried it. Calorie counting, keto, atkins, juice diets… the list goes on.
It’s funny because when i look back at the patterns that were at play, I didn’t realise that there was a reason why i was binge-eating and getting heavier every time I regained the weight I had lost.
Every single time i lost weight, i would gain it back… and then some.
If I was to create a graph of my weight, it would clearly show an overall increase in weight over those 10 years, despite the short periods of weight loss in between.
In fact, the weight was in retrospect the least of my problems. I was really unhappy. I couldn’t do anything fun with my friends or family without food being at the forefront of my mind.
Food was the first thing I would think about, the last thing I’d think about before I fell asleep and the majority of my thoughts in between.
Once I realized that the problem was not me, and was in fact my conditioning, then I was in an empowered position to change my mindset and heal my relationship with food and my body.
I stopped binge-eating, I learned how to nourish my body properly and prioritize my physical & mental health so that I could make space for my personal and professional goals. This led me to start my own business and work on being the best version of me!
The diet industry is thriving at this time of the year, but the science shows us that dieting and embarking on a weight loss journey actually does the EXACT opposite. We now know that your weight does not determine how healthy you are.
Yes, you heard right. It does not matter what your weight is. Your health is dependent upon your daily habits and positive actions.. Like how active you are, how balanced and varied your diet is and your stress levels. This means that the number you see on the scales is completely irrelevant to your health.
If this is something that is difficult to wrap your head around, please continue to read. Research has shown that individuals in larger bodies who engaged in positive daily habits had a better mortality rate than individuals in smaller bodies who didn’t engage in these positive habits!
DUN DUN DUN… Game changer right?
So why are we so fixated on losing weight and achieving a weight and body shape which perfectly aligns with ‘socially acceptable norms’?
This is a very long and complex matter- but here is a somewhat simplified version of it. It’s the very nature of diet culture. The belief that acquiring the perfect body is more important than your physical, mental and emotional health.
The diet industry is worth BILLIONS. And it keeps going up and up every single year… because people are failing to keep the weight off. But why?
Research has shown us that those who diet and engage in restrictive behaviors are actually MORE LIKELY to gain weight in the long-term, and this is for a number of different reasons…
The effects of dieting on your body:
Lowers metabolism- Your body is fully aware of what is coming in and out. If you aren’t eating enough it will put on the breaks and go into survival mode. It will lower your metabolism to try and keep you from losing calories that it needs to function optimally. Even when you go back to eating normally, your metabolism remains lower and this often leads to more weight gain than you started with.
Increases your appetite- If you aren’t nourishing your body adequately with all the nutrients it needs and satisfying your hunger, then your body elevates it’s hunger hormones- you know those ones that create that primal response to food when you are starving!
Increases likelihood of disordered eating behaviours- If you restrict yourself from certain foods then you are creating the perfect environment for binge-eating. The ‘forbidden fruit effect’ is rife when you have rules around what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Unsustainable for long periods- We are humans, not robots. Diets are often not realistic to uphold for the rest of your life, especially if you want to lead a full life where you can enjoy experiences with your friends and family.
If you are someone who feels addicted to food, overeats and is struggling to nourish their body properly i advise you to sit down and reflect with a pen and paper. Ask yourself the following questions:
When did I first start binge eating?
When did I first start restricting my body from food?
Which diets worked long-term?
What was difficult about each diet I have tried?
Were there any patterns in my dieting and over eating?
Were there any patterns in my dieting and weight gain?
What foods do I lack trust with myself around?
What is my body telling me when i over eat?
If these questions seem overwhelming, it’s likely that you need professional guidance and support.
Click here to learn more about how I can support you.