How many of us keep making it a New Years Resolution to lose weight every single year? We’re super motivated for a few weeks on whatever “diet” we’ve chosen to suffer from, and then we start to lose motivation, and eventually “fall off the wagon”. I know this analogy I am about to make may sound gross, but for me, it’s like going to the dentist – once I have my teeth cleaned, I’m super motivated to floss my teeth every single day for a week, then my excitement of flossing dwindles to maybe twice a week, and eventually, I may only do it once a month. (Just a side note, this does NOT apply to my pattern of brushing my teeth – I do that twice daily!) 😉 I know my dental hygienist and dentist are probably cringing right now 😉
Somehow we believe the best time to start our “new you” is in the “new year”! So let’s go crazy with those heavy Christmas holiday meals and treats, because, you’re going to diet anyways, right?! Somehow this has become the norm of our society: Overeat/Binge for the month of December, then erase it all with dieting in January and months to come.
Now, I do believe there is a difference between going on a short-term cleanse to reset your body (from eating heavier meals during the holiday) and dieting. The main difference is in the mentality and emotions we hold around a cleanse and around a diet.
I believe in general, a cleanse is temporary and comes from a grounded, loving, honoring and listening to your body place, whereas dieting is intermittently continuous and never ending (on, off & repeat) and comes from a self-punishing, shame-based, “hate-my-body” place. This is just my observation in my practice with clients and also with myself in my own experiences.
However, a cleanse can be coming from a self-punishing place too if a person is not truly in tuned with their mind-body-spirit connection, and is doing it just for the sake of “losing weight” so that the goal would be externally focused rather than internally– this too then would feel like torture. The accompanying thoughts are stemming from a place of body hate: “Ugh, I am so fat, I hate myself for getting so fat, why did I let myself get so fat?!” So in other words, a cleanse in this case is just another form of “dieting”. To this individual, there is no expiry date with dieting. It’s just an endless cycle of being on the diet, then fall off the diet, then back on a diet (and sometimes, it’s on to the next fad diet).
In contrast, a cleanse, if coming from a loving place, would be more aligned with intuitive eating – noticing the body feels bloated, noticing the body is craving more fresh and whole foods again, and honoring the body’s needs (e.g., more energy, better digestion, less mood swings, clear brain fog and increase mental alertness and clarity, improve quality of hair and skin, etc). The accompanying thoughts are one stemming from a place of body love: of “needing to care for myself, reset to optimize my health again because I deserve it”. The individual would expect this cleanse to be temporary and resume with ease normal eating behaviors again that support and optimize their health immediately afterwards. Notice there is no mentality about needing to “lose weight” (it is a side effect but it is not the main purpose of a cleanse).
So, let’s make it a New Year’s Resolution to Stop Dieting, and start cultivating body love from the inside out.
If you would like support in doing so, I’d be honored to work with you to end body hate and begin a loving relationship with your body, food and self. I’ve struggled as a chronic dieter and binge eater for years, and through my journey, I now have landed in a sacred place where I completely and wholehearted embrace and love myself and my body.
I have an upcoming Online Holistic Body Love 6 Week Food & Body Image Program and an in-person 8-week Body Image Group called “Transform and Deepen Your Relationship with Food and Your Body”, as well I offer individual counselling sessions, including online counselling services throughout Alberta.
And I might even floss for you. 😉