Why are you needing to diet?

Today I want to discuss why you may have dieted, may be trying to diet and why you feel the need to diet.

I for one really dislike the word diet except in the general sense of all food being discussed as an overall eating practice. That is: your diet should contain all food groups, or, what do you prefer to include in your daily food intake?

Not as a restrictive practice.

Not a Sacrifice for Health

When we think of diets we tend to generally think – restrictive, painful, deleting food. Maybe you associate it with adding in foods that you really dislike; and overall equate it to pretty ‘painful’ practices?

The dictionary describes Diet as the kinds of foods that a person, animal or community habitually eats. This seems fairly good to me.  We can look at what the Japanese eat, what the Mediterranean’s eat and there are positive results in both of those practices that could act as good models.

But then when we get further along in the dictionary and it reads- a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

I don’t know about you but as soon as the work restrict pops up, I want it more. It’s like being told as a kid you can’t touch that, and you automatically want to try it and see what would happen. Or maybe as soon as you think about restricting that one thing you suddenly crave it.

Therefore, today I don’t want you to think about diet in any other sense than as a practice. But I do want you to think about why you feel the need to change your eating practices.

What is your Trigger?

Did something trigger you to suddenly increase your intake? Did you become upset and then try and self sooth with food? If so what exactly set you off?  It seems to me that these would be better questions.

Once we find that trigger we can then address how to change it. Do we need to be away from certain people, circumstances? Maybe if you can’t do that you can change how you react to the trigger. Perhaps instead of turning to food, you go for a walk, read a book, call a friend……

We have talked about how to change triggers before and please feel free to check out my other vlog, or blogs.

Until we know what the trigger was though, we can’t change it, and it is then harder to make a new habit and alter our established response. However just recognizing the trigger is already growth and leading to change.

What is your Why?

The next thing I want you to think about is; why do you want to diet. Is there something internal you are doing to yourself? This is quite a common thing.

For example we look in the mirror and critique some part of ourselves. We feel imperfect and therefore the only way in our mind is to fix it with a diet. The unfortunate bit about this as feeling unhappy with how we appear and hoping a diet will fix it, we are again putting restrictions in.

If I take this out, I will feel better.

Now overall, I am doubtful if this is a successful strategy as it doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. Why do you feel less than?

When we give ourselves a negative to focus on instead of a positive, our brain only hears the negative. Let’s try it, for example:

I feel fat and I need to diet – the brain hears more I feel fat (not a great feeling)

I need to cut out chocolate, chips or cheese. The brain hears; chocolate, chips and cheese and generally we then begin to think of them. Possibly we can imagine tasting them, our mouth waters and we keep focusing on those and then we try to come up with reasons why we should eat them one more time. Maybe we will start dieting tomorrow, or Monday or New Year’s Day…… and so on.

Today’s strategy is a bit more about self-love and not self-loathing.

Let’s change the FRAME.

By this I mean instead of the criticism I want you to think about feeling more energetic, alive, vital and content. This will change your emotions. Now what makes you feel this way? Give it a moment as our conscious mind may try and interrupt here. Remember you have created some pretty unhealthy habits and practices.

You have probably developed a lot of negative self-talk about those habits, some rationales about them. And these are going to want to challenge you.

But if you keep thinking what will make you feel better, you may realise that you can still have that chocolate but not every day. Maybe it’s more fun to make it a treat once a week or once a month. After all it’s not a treat or special if we have it all the time.

Maybe you now realize that those portions are a bit big, and that equal enjoyment can be had by a smaller serving. We rarely get extra enjoyment from just increasing the quantity.

Maybe you can find a different way to reward yourself a massage, new book, a new hobby…. Whatever the reward if it can be distracting, fun, repeatable we can create new happier cravings that not only make us feel good. We can create new associations, and new habits.

We can take out the need to feel like we are denying ourselves. It will give you a different mental focus on the one hand, something to look forward to and on the other. It will help you feel healthier without all the negative flagellation. Seems like this is a better way to get healthy.

Self-love instead of restrict, deny and criticise. After all isn’t this what we try and teach our young children? Boundaries with love?

Understand the why, and chose a different behaviour. This if far healthier than a negative though and a poorly thought out reaction. This may not come automatically so the final suggestion I have is before you react in any way just pause.

Yep take a moment. This is for you and literally takes a moment. PAUSE.  How do you feel right now, how do you want to feel?

This is responding and not reacting.

So for now practice hitting that PAUSE button, and notice the power it gives you. Notice how much easier it is to self-love when we aren’t reacting to the moment, responding to an external catalyst or countering a trigger.

Focus on how much healthier you feel, and what different choices you make around your weight loss, fitness or wellbeing decisions. After all we are one of the few species that have this capability, why not use it more regularly. Imagine the outcome.

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