Lately, I’ve had many clients and people ask me if they can be on a weight loss journey (including being on a Diet) while working on developing self love.
My answer in short is YES, you CAN still be on a diet and develop Self-Love…read more below to learn more.
Many of my clients and members who come into my Holistic Body Love programs have been chronic and/or yo-yo dieters for a long time – yet they realize that being on a diet hasn’t actually worked, since they haven’t been able to maintain their weight loss.
Because the diet industry doesn’t give a shit about your feelings! They are there to sell a product and their focus is on sales. If people are getting results (i.e., weight loss) that is ALL the care about. They don’t take into account about how your mental and emotional health is because it doesn’t matter to them. They want to see that their product is getting results by people losing weight and as they keep promoting these results, the sales continue to go up. Diets do not actually show you 5 years later how that person has maintained their weight (because it doesn’t happen as the case majority)- it’s all short term results. Besides, how many people have gone on and then off, then back on Weight Watchers again? This shouldn’t need to be the case. Point proven that diets don’t work for the long term, right? I’ll show you what it’s missing in a bit.
Now, I am not knocking diets because I do believe for certain people who have unhealthy pounds and fat to lose, and are completely clueless about what to eat- then YES, this is where diets can serve a purpose for you. But listen- diets have an expiration date! No one should be on the same diet for years!
What you ate 10 years ago, probably needs to look different nutritionally and macronutrient balance wise because as we age, our bodies have different needs hormonally, physiologically and physically. Your diet should also change as you lose weight. That’s just human nature and we need to respect that.
Our society fears 2 things: Fat and Signs of Aging. Just look at Hollywood. Enough said, right?
Here’s the situation I’ve been really noticing lately. People ask me “Is your program still suitable for me if I’m on Jenny Craig/ Weight Watchers/ [insert your diet here]?” or I’ve had clients in my practice who have been gaining weight and freaking out.
To clarify, I am not completely anti-diet for the reason I mentioned above. But again, I do believe diets have an expiration date.
Diets fail to include a few very important ingredients: Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Emotional Regulation – which are all Eating Psychology concepts – it’s the how to eat, where as diets predominantly teach you what to eat.
So when clients are learning how to be “normal eaters” (e.g, not follow rigid rules that diets come with), they swing from one side of the pendulum (i.e., Rigid/ Restricted Eating), to the other side of the pendulum which I call the REBELLION stage (i.e., eat anything I want including foods in high sugar, salt, unhealthy fats) because they are learning how to let go of “control” with food.
THIS process IS NORMAL and often what I see, as well, what I personally experienced in my own healing journey. When we are told No, No, No so many times, it’s only human nature to eventually go “Screw you! I want it and you can’t tell me NO!” and we rebel…OR when we finally give ourselves permission to “eat whatever we want” then we “lose control” the other way.
Now here’s where it gets TRICKY. Because people are swinging on the far side of the pendulum (Rebellion Stage), they are still somewhat in that place of “dieting mentality” and learning to experiment with living outside of the box, which is a foreign AND A SCARY place to be.
The “Diet Self” starts to berate and shame the Rebellion Self, and now you feel LOST.
This means you’re on track. Yep.
Of course you feel lost, because you’re no longer living in the BOX of Rigid Diet Rules, and you also know you don’t want to be in the “Lose Control- No Rules” Area either – too scary!!! So where are you? LOST. Confused. Frustrated. Scared!
So what usually happens? Back to “Rigid Diet Self” where it is falsely safe. At least here you know what to do and there’s some kind of safety about that. Relief. Whew! And the dieting trap starts again.
This is where I come in and say Being Lost means you’re on TRACK. WTF Roz? (yes I know I’m a bit punchy today, aren’t I?) 😉
This is where the real work begins because you’re sick and tired of dieting, yet you’re also sick and tired of being the 2 year old Rebellion, eating “anything and everything you want” but at the expense of gaining weight and a growing waistline.
EXCELLENT. This means you are ready for something different – you are ready to truly learn how to love yourself. You needed to go through that above process to get it out of your system!
So now you know that it’s okay if you choose to go back on a diet.
Let me tell you something: What I eat today may not look much different than what I ate on my body building diet. What’s different is my mindset and how I’m viewing my relationship with food.
Yes, so now you know, it’s NOT about being on a diet or not. It doesn’t matter if you are or if you aren’t. We can learn to approach our relationship with our bodies in the same way from either a dieting lifestyle or a non-dieting lifestyle.
Now how can you be on a diet AND still learn to love yourself?
You need to invite Self-Compassion, skills to emotionally regulate yourself, and Mindful Eating into the Diet Lifestyle amongst other self-loving concepts, but these 3 are great essentials to start with. This will help you start to think differently as you’re eating.
Here’s an example:
Dieting Mentality Appraoch:
For breakfast, I’m eating 100 calories of oatmeal, 4 eggwhites (no egg yolks because that’s too much fat) and a cup of coffee, no sugar or cream because the extra calories I can’t afford. Ughhhh but coffee tastes so much better with sugar and cream. Uggggh eggwhites taste like rubber. Let me dose it with hot sauce, because I read that hot sauce can rev up your metabolism – oh, but it’s got a lot of sodium in it, so that might make me look bloated. Maybe not. Bleeech! I hate eating this stuff but if I want to lose weight, I have to because that’s what Diet says will work.
Holistic Body Love Approach:
Body, what is it that you want for breakfast that would nourish you? Yes, oatmeal with 1 whole egg and 4 eggwhites would provide you sustained energy for the morning, and you love the taste of coffee, it’s a great morning ritual that comforts you. Black coffee is a bit hard on on your stomach, so let’s go for a splash of cream and sugar. I love how smooth coffee tastes…mmmmm! I feel good knowing that I’m respecting you, Body, so that you can start the day with energy and vitality through these foods.
Can you see the difference?
The first approach is focused on calories, what to eat, and the frustration with keeping count of your food. And this is just the first meal. This happens at least 3-5 more times that day.
The second approach is focused on nourishment and talking to your body, like it’s your best friend. Hey, we talk to ourselves all the time, you mind as well be speaking kindly to it. Yes? You are listening after all.
If you beat up on your body, it will just scream back at you in the symptoms of weight gain, pain, low energy, digestive issues, frustration, etc. If you start to be kind to your body, it will treat you right by losing unhealthy pounds, being happier, more energy, and all the abundance of health you want!
Learn more about how to have freedom with food (even when you’re on a diet), gain body confidence and being your own best friend in my upcoming free webinar: How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Your Weight, Eating Habits & Body Image on Feb 2!
For more information about Holistic Body Love Food & Body Image Transformation Program, check it out here!