It is common for dieters to turn non-dieting into another diet, even though these people don’t think they are.
The following “non-dieting diets” are popular:
- Clean eating
- Low fat
- Low carbohydrate
- Low sugar
- No sugar
- Lifestyle change
- Healthy eating
- Intuitive eating diet – Only eating when hungry.
- Mindful eating diet – Only eating mindfully.
When the non-diet approach becomes another diet, things end badly.
If you have been a chronic dieter, a yo-yo dieter or someone who has tried to change their body with food and exercise, please read on.
1. Don’t try and strive for perfection
As in trying to always eat when hungry.
As in beating yourself up when you slip back into your old ways of being inflexible, restrictive, feeling guilt or shame, being preoccupied with food and/or your body and eating to lose weight.
This is what change is all about….taking steps forward and then regressing. We don’t learn in a linear way. You should be proud that you have the awareness of knowing when you are taking a step backwards. Be mindful that you don’t slip back and go back to the start. You learn from all these experiences, which better helps you to overcome the next challenge that bit easier and effectively.
Be kind to yourself during this new and different journey.
2. Don’t applying the black and white thinking to non-dieting.
- I am good for eating out of stomach hungry.
- I was bad because I did non-hungry eating.
- I was bad because I ate that sandwich when I actually felt like a curry.
What to do instead:
- Breaking the “thou shalt eat only when hungry. Thou shalt eat only mindfully”.
- If you must follow a rule, follow this, “There are no rule.” OR “Don’t ever berate yourself for not eating intuitively.
- Eat freely…Not as per the diet or meal plan.
- Non-judgement and self compassion are essential skills to non-diet.
- Let go of attachment to outcome i.e. particularly around weight or appearance.
- View eating as an experiment.
- Ask what am I seeking (if you are not sure if you are hungry or what do you feel like eating)?……Could you be looking for fun, pleasure, relaxation, enjoyment, freedom and so on???). Go after that!
- The more you match your hunger with what you really feel like, the more confidence you will have in the ability to feed yourself.
- Hunger and the need for more energy don’t always manifest themselves as signs of stomach hunger. Sometimes just wanting to eat is your body telling you you need food.
- What happens if I choose to eat now? It’s not the end of the world.
- Pay attention to the feeling when we do eat can be helpful.
- Remember, if you aren’t hungry, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat. Mindful eating allows you to be mindful about what you decide.
- Food tastes amazing when you are hungry for it. Knowing this, may helps you to wait until you are hungry.
- Asking powerful questions gives you a chance to disrupt old thought patterns and look at the situation in a different way. You might not get an answer right away…but it’s an experiment. Stay curious and non-judgmental. Things will become clear eventually. If you need support, get help.
- Reflecting on your goals and why you are non-dieting can help you in those tough times of non-dieting….yes, there will be many of those!
- Don’t restrict yourself in anyway and to laugh in the face of food fears. Thank your fears for trying to keep you safe. Reassure yourself these fears could be doing more harm than good.