5 Things To Do Instead of Dieting
If you’ve tried dieting before, you know it doesn’t work. Okay fine, may be it works temporarily but you feel miserable the whole time, and you eventually give up. Am I right? I have been there and done that. OR, if you are looking to start a new diet that everyone is raving about…please, pretty please read this post before you start a new diet or detox plan. For the purpose of this post, I am referring dieting as “restricting food/drink intake, or behavior(s) that lead to feelings of guilt, and obsessively tracking your calories in vs. calories out for the sole purpose of losing weight”.
The problem with dieting is it’s not sustainable long term because they work by creating “calorie deficit” and “removing certain food groups” from your diet altogether, which often leads to diet-binge cycle and your body doesn’t get all the nutrients it needs. Dieting can also be life-consuming and stressful because “losing xyz amount of weight” becomes the priority rather than the overall wellbeing of your health.
I completely understand the need and desire to be at a certain body weight but restrictive dieting or detoxing is definitely not the way to go esp if you are looking for a long-term success. Our weight loss/gain is multi-factorial and diet is a very small part of that equation. My goal with this post is to share 5 Things To Do Instead of Dieting so you can channel your energy towards creating a healthier and happier self long term.
Give up dieting mentality for once and all : First thing first, let’s remove the idea of “dieting” from our life and think food as nourishing rather than numbers or points. We all instinctively have hunger and fullness cues (think babies and young children) but as we grow older, we unlearn these innate cues because we encouraged to “clean our plate” or taught that there are “good” and “bad” foods. And with dieting, we have progressively forgotten to listen to our bodies and hunger signals. There is a whole world of “intuitive eating” which focuses on way of eating without any diets, meal plans, counting, or willpower. It simply teaches you to get back to your natural hunger/fullness cues and trust your body again. It may sound counterproductive esp. when you are trying to get back to eating better, lose weight etc but I highly encourage you to check The book “Intuitive Eating” by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch to find food freedom.
Cook more often : Cooking your meals at home is not only cheaper and healthier but I think it is a valuable life lesson in understanding the relationship between food/ingredients/seasons, nurturing your body, and how it affects your overall wellbeing. I am not suggesting you to cook every meal, every day but at least make cooking a priority. If you are new to the world of cooking, I have some resources to get you started :
Once you start visiting grocery shopping and farmers market, have a well-stocked pantry, and cook more often - you will rely less on recipes and be confident at putting your own twist on the dish.
Prioritize self-care : he purpose of self-care is to nourish your emotional, mental, physical, spiritual health so you can be a better version of yourself. Treat self-care like a really important appointment because everyone deserves it. Self-care comes in various forms and it looks different for everyone because our needs and situations are different. And please, don’t feel compelled to do what the other person is doing - YOU DO YOU!
Respect and appreciate your body everyday : In today’s world, respecting and truly loving our body feels like an impossible task. We are constantly bombarded with messages and ideas on how an ideal body should look like and that you are never enough. First and foremost, ignore what society and media tells you to believe!!!! On days I am not happy with my body (or body parts), I channel those negative thoughts into reminding myself about all the little things it does to keep me alive and functioning everyday. Few other practices I suggest are :
Get comfortable in your clothes and dress for the body you have right now.
Break up with the scale altogether (Read : Should You Really Ditch The Scale?)
Stop comparing yourself with others
Explore joyful activities : By joyful activities, I am referring to any physical activity that emphasizes finding pleasure and joy in the ways we move our bodies. Rather than forcing one to engage in activities “to earn the food or pay for food you just ate”, this approach helps you tune-in better with your body and people tend to stick long-term with it because you actually enjoy what you do. List out what activities you enjoy doing & start incorporating them into your life. Few years back, running was my go-to but it started to feel stale and forced so I took a break altogether…and now I am into long walks + yoga.
psst… last year made myself a home yoga studio!
Before i sign off, I want to thank you for reading this post and if you are considering (or are currently dieting), I hope this post will offer a slightly different perspective. And lastly, I encourage you to ask yourself - if diets really worked, why do we keep seeing new diets every year??
I would also love to hear some of your ideas for healthy living instead of dieting.