Since decades we are caught in a diet mentality so deeply, that we often don’t even recognize it anymore. We heard and read repeatedly that we are supposed to diet and to lose weight. It became a part of how we think.
We believe in the perfect diet
We believe that the perfect diet is somewhere out there, we just haven’t found it yet. Many people constantly live between the poles of dieting on one side and eating while feeling guilty on the other. Trapped in the hope for the next diet to work and their experience that it probably doesn’t. But they are told often enough that they would be successful if they have enough willpower. So it must be their fault if a diet doesn’t work.
This way of thinking and the dieting itself damage our metabolism, self-esteem and body image.
A revolutionary Mindset
Around the early 1980‘s, a revolutionary mindset started to grow. Based on feministic ideas, more and more anti-diet concepts and books began to flourish.
The idea of „Anti-Diet“ was never able to overwrite our diet-mindset. Nevertheless, I love that authors like Susie Orbach (1) and Kim Chernin (2) broached the issue of body image and the negative consequences of dieting. The point of view was revolutionary and focused on social power: Making women (and people in general) feel inferior because of social norms to be skinny, is a weapon. The norms are usually defined by men and deeply ingrained by women who grew up with the social standards. As long as people are told that they don’t match social expectations, they feel insufficient. They won’t speak up, because they don’t feel confident. Making everybody feel worthy, independent of body shape or size is a very inclusive concept. The approach was to leave all social norms in regards to diet and body-shape behind and to just eat what you like to eat.
The Missing Piece
I always felt a bit uncomfortable with the „pure“ anti-diet approach, even if I love the message of encouraging self-worth regardless of weight. Eating what we want and whenever we want doesn’t take into consideration that eating is a common coping mechanism. Even the health concerns in regards to overweight seem to be left out. On the other hand, I know, dieting is not a solution as well, because it makes people feel worse, physically and mentally.
I was looking for a good solution for years on how to mold a healthy lifestyle in a way which is building self-confidence rather than shattering it. Obviously, there must be a third approach or a truth between both extremes.
What I was looking for
When I discovered the science of mindful or intuitive eating, I was happy to finally find what I was looking for. It includes everything I was wishing for my clients. They can feel better about themselves while becoming healthier at the same time.
The heart of mindful eating is learning to connect to your bodies signals and needs again and to treat yourself with respect.
Dieting is ignoring both aspects completely. Eating, while following external rules, moves you even further away from trusting your needs each time you are on a diet. Feeling guilty when you break the rules and eat „forbidden“ foods, makes you worse.
Being aware of what, when and how you eat and learning to address your needs instead of covering emotions with food, is the advantage of mindful eating. If you are able to differentiate between different forms of hunger, you learn to eat consciously whenever your body needs fuel. In addition, you develop strategies to give your body what it needs – instead of food – when you are stressed or tired.
Weight Loss Coaching instead of Dieting
Combining mindful eating with behavioral science and strategies to love yourself again is, what I do with my clients during a weight loss coaching process. Literally, it can change your life. Escaping the vicious circle of dieting and gaining weight, by focusing on whats already inside rather than sticking to outside rules, can help to increase your wellbeing and happiness while losing weight without trying.
Dieting instead makes you worse each time you start another cycle of starvation. Your body tries harder each time to adjust to the conditions of scarcity and increases your cravings in order to save your life. It doesn’t know the difference between dieting and life-threatening starvation. Its job is, to keep you alive. Each time it’s getting more and more difficult to lose weight with a diet, physically and mentally. Keeping the weight off becomes impossible because you start obsessing about food.
Learning to trust again
The mindful eating approach changes the focus completely and therefore allows you to trust your body-signals again. Maybe for the first time in your life, you can experience the pleasure of a guilt-free way to savor your food and to nourish your body.
Singapore: If you think, this approach might be a solution to guide you out of the trap of dieting, you can book a FREE 20-min consultation with me at City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy (Guthrie House, Bukit Timah). Call (+65)63144440 to book your free appointment today!
Worldwide: If you are not living in Singapore, you can send me an Email to book your FREE online-consultation with me. You can still decide after this free session if you want to book Online-Weight Loss Coaching with me! Here you can see my Facebook-Page to learn more.
(1) Susie Orbach (1987): Fat is a Feminist Issue. Mass Market. Paperback
(2) Kim Chernin (1194): Obsessions. Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness. Reprint, Harper Perennial