Redefining Fit: Why You Should Stop Dieting Right Now

by Kelli on March 20, 2013

in Fitness, Health, Nourish

Weight ScaleThere are a lot of diets out there. Like—a lot. So how do you know which one works best for you?

Here’s a secret about all those pills and point systems and food restrictions: they work—if you stick to them. But after you get tired of no-carb, no-fun cauliflower pizza or detoxing once a week or drinking magic shakes—then what? You gain weight back, that’s what.

Did you know the number one predictor of weight gain is being on a diet?

Whaaat? But it’s true. There are a bunch of studies that say so.

I’m here to tell you (again, because I think we all need a reminder) that you should stop dieting right now. Not after you lose those 20 pounds, not after your favorite jeans fit again. Right now. RIGHT NOW.

Because here’s the thing: eventually, you’ll get tired of fighting cravings. You’ll grow weary of never eating dessert. You’ll get sick of not being able to go to happy hour with your friends. You can’t sustain long-term deprivation of things you want, crave, and enjoy. Even granite, the strongest rock, erodes and wear away over time. Diets are not sustainable. They wear away at your willpower and make you feel horrible when you finally give in.

And then bingeing happens, or old habits happen, or something else happens and BAM! You’re right back where you started with maybe even more weight than you started with.

So what’s a girl to do?

Start enjoying your life right now. Tell yourself it’s okay to eat cookies if you feel like it. Stop with the guilt, with the “should” or “shouldn’t” and start listening to what your body is telling you. Your body will tell you that it doesn’t want cookies for dinner every night. Your body will tell you that it wants/needs vegetables. Your body will you that carbs are okay. So is fat.

Your body doesn’t want cake and cookies and beer for every meal—and it will tell you, but you have to listen.  It may be hard to hear over the daily battles with your willpower, which is reason enough to stop fighting with yourself. Being in tune with your body may take time—and, as these things go, your progress will wax and wane. I don’t have an easy solution for myself, let alone anyone else, to get there but, like everything else, I’m sure the Internet holds the answers you seek.

In the meantime, consider this: what if eating what you feel like eating is okay? What if there are no bad or good foods? What if it’s okay for you to never diet again?

Think about it. And start listening to the answers—the real answers, buried deep inside you.

Your body, as well as your soul, will thank you.

Photo credit Stock Exchange

Rachel March 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

I take issue with your no fun cauliflower pizza… I love cauliflower pizza! I make a kick ass bbq chicken cauliflower crust pizza.

kel March 21, 2013 at 6:48 am

You say that, but have you tried almond flour pizza? See the thing is, I eat pizza for the crust, and the cauliflower didn’t do it for me. Now the almond flour…fantastic, low carb, and with the added benefit of omega 3s or whatever is in almonds that is good for you…unless, you know, you’re allergic.

Also. I’m interested in this bbq chicken pizza you speak of.

Rachel March 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

I’ve never had almond flour pizza. Mostly because I hate working with dough. Hate it, hate it. However, I do have a new vitamix and a bag of almonds, so we shall see…

BBQ chicken pizza:
I use chicken tenders or thin cut breasts because they cook through faster. Marinate for 24 hours in your favorite BBQ sauce. I use Sweet Baby Ray’s. Grill on George Forman grill. I like to start the heat high to get that nice sear on the outside, then turn the heat down to cook through. Dice.
Bake crust of your choice. Once crust is cooked all the way through, top with your BBQ sauce, diced chicken and provolone cheese. Broil just until cheese melts then remove from oven.

Elizabeth L March 21, 2013 at 8:29 am

Dieting is a surefire way to gain weight. I’m living proof. :)

I did Weight Watchers 4 years ago (wow has it been that long?!) and lost around 40 pounds. While I was on the program, WW really ramped up their own product lines, and while every once in a while I’d buy some of the snacks or the muffins, I stayed away from it.

Eating packaged food that’s already figured out the points for you is easier, sure, but it doesn’t teach you how to read labels and figure out what’s good and bad for yourself. I feel like my eating habits are really different now than before I started because I try to stay away from the packaged stuff and rely on whole ingredients. Not that I don’t love me some oreos…

WW worked for me, but honestly towards the end I wasn’t really doing the program, I was just eating more sensibly. And shockingly, I lost more weight doing that than eating all those SmartOnes and disgusting shakes.

Jen Smith March 21, 2013 at 8:51 am

I LOVE this. LOVE IT. And I agree. Haven’t Europeans been doing this for years? Problem is, I know me, if I go hog wild, my body freakin celebrates. I will never stop craving desserts or cookies, or spaghettios, or nachos. My brain has never said to me – hey, let’s eat some broccoli! Sounds fun right? No, my brain is like a drug pusher, gives me a freebie to lure me in and then I’m hooked. Hooked until, as Louis CK says, I hate myself and feel like crap and have eaten a bowl of spaghettios and a sleeve of Thin Mints for dinner.

However, I have been living your mindset for a couple months now in my own way. If I get to go out to dinner, I go out to dinner, and I get what I want. Maybe I eat half, maybe I eat the whole dang thing right then and there AND get dessert. And if I’m sometimes really wanting those Girl Scout cookies, by God, I eat them. I also have started exercising and have tried very hard not to go hog wild, and if I eat badly one day, I get back on the horse the next and make a little better decisions or maybe I work out a bit longer than I originally intended.

The results for me have not been astounding. In two months, I’ve lost four pounds. But, I feel better, I have more energy, I don’t hate myself as often as I used to, and I also get to splurge whenever I freakin feel like it, which for me is better than melting off the pounds in weeks. Besides, I’m married with 2 kids and in my mid-30s, I will never have my 20 year old body, and frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Fiona McGier March 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I agree, Jen. I had 4 kids in 5 years, many years ago. No matter how many times I try to explain to my hips that I’m never going to need those fat supplies to feed another baby, they don’t listen. Sigh. So I eat my 6-7 servings of fruit and veggies everyday, eschew desserts usually, and try to get enough sleep because in an unfortunate twist of reality, burning the candle at both ends means your body holds onto every calorie with a death-grip! Bad news for a multiple-job working, busy Mom!
The only thing that really sets me off is selling clothing (particularly bathing suits) to women who go on and on about how fat they are, and how lumpy and ugly they feel, when they are trying on a size 4 or 6 bikini. I wear a size 16. You’d think they would know better than to expect sympathy from me. I amuse myself wondering how long it’s been since they got to eat or drink anything they enjoyed. But it’s not much comfort.

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