What your diet doesn’t teach you- Part 1
By Nicole Gibson
Mainstream diets are everywhere. They have been around for over a hundred years, going through cycles of popularity, with the promise that it will be the answer to solve a person’s weight problems. Whether low fat, low carb, no sugar, no gluten, the focus is generally on what needs to be avoided or restricted. The idea is that certain foods are the only culprit to gaining weight and by avoiding them you will lose weight, simple as that. And truthfully people do lose weight following many of these diets. But what happens if you hit a plateau and can’t seem to lose any more weight? Or what do you do if you successfully achieved your weight loss goal but don’t want to avoid that food group for the rest of your life? How do you maintain your weight and avoid a rapid rebound? And what if you are losing weight but don’t actually feel any better (low energy, poor digestion, brain fog, constantly starving)? Other than what to avoid (which is questionable), mainstream diets don’t really teach any valuable habits to lead a healthy life.
Diets don’t generally teach you how to eat when you want to go off the diet. Most diets are not sustainable. Most people can’t and don’t want to live forever restricted by dietary rules. Many people can put themselves in a “diet bubble” where they can avoid situations that might tempt them to veer off. But that bubble can’t be lived in forever and normal life will return. People should be able to enjoy holidays, vacations, and celebrations without being plagued by guilt or fear of weight gain. If you have adopted a very low carb diet for example, but don’t want to live the rest of your life avoiding carbohydrates, then how do you start to integrate them back into your diet without gaining all the weight back? The dietary habits you learned while on the diet aren’t necessarily transferrable or helpful for normal life. So what do you eat then? Sustainable methods are what help create sustainable results.
Diets don’t teach you how to become in tune with your body and listen to your hunger and fullness cues. If always relying on external factors, such as preset portions, to dictate when and how much you eat, then you are overriding those innate signals our body sends. Learning to eat mindfully and truly listen to your body is a skill that must be practiced. It’s not easy to do, but if you can learn to honour your hunger and satiety- knowing that some days you might leave food on your plate while other days you might need an extra serving- then you can hopefully learn to eat more intuitively and find a weight where your body can happily settle.
Come back for Part 2 where I continue to discuss things your diet doesn’t teach you.
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