Understanding that diets don’t work. They only make us feel worse about ourselves
As we enter a 12 week challenge it can also be very tempting to start a restrictive diet as we’re very motivated to get results. But research has proven diets don’t work they actually make us overeat!
This is due to a psychological effect as we are continually obsessing about food and that we are most likely starving on these diets. We overeat, and after we’ve overeaten we feel terrible and start our diet again, and end up being trapped in this an infinite cycle of restarting our unrealistic diets every Monday morning.
Unfortunately, we are brainwashed by a sinister creature called the media that plasters up the top five tips telling us how to be thin, healthy and happy week after week – just in time for our fresh start on Monday morning.
Why have we gotten stuck in this cycle? Why do we think that being thin is going to make us happy?
I think life has reached a point where so many other things are placed above the importance of nourishing our own bodies. Our lifestyles are so crammed with things we have to do we end up forgetting to feed ourselves. Then once we realise it is time to eat we are often starving and end up devouring anything in sight.
Our lifestyle is so chaotic that our eating pattern follows suit. Busy lifestyles also allow less time to eat and as a result we end up eating faster, making it more difficult to listen to your satiety signals; only realising five minutes after the meal that we didn’t need that extra helping or last few mouthfuls.
Physical hunger is inherent and as we grow older, we no longer listen to our bodies. We often try to suppress our hunger so we can be thinner. We always end up focusing on the problem, which is the desire to continuously lose those 5kg, and end up starting to tackle the problem by dieting, which doesn’t work as we slot right into the cycle of overeating. What we should be doing is examining the cause.
As you create a routine by exercising regularly aiming for 3 times a week it’s important to also create a routine or I prefer to say, rhythm within your food space.
Do you skip meals and end up raiding the fridge? Is your eating pattern completely erratic? Always be curious and ask why.
This will give us answers as to where we can make changes. What do your meal patterns look like? Routine and structure in your food space is key. This is your principle and first step to implement – try these ideas to help you get into the rhythm:
·Make it easy for yourself: set times for when you are going to be eating throughout the day. Place priority on these times and stick to these times according to the clock. These are times to nourish your body make sure you keep the appointment you have set with yourself.
· The next step would be to listen to your physical hunger. Don’t wait till you are very hungry or too hungry to eat. You are more likely to make the wrong food choice or end up overeating. Once you feel you are getting hungry start preparing food, in accordance with your eating routine. Remember to slow down your eating. This can be done by putting your knife and fork down between mouthfuls and chewing your food. Your mouth is the first point of digestion. This will help you identify when you are starting to get full and prevent overeating.
·You have the basic wisdom to differentiate between what is healthy or not. We all know that having a side salad instead or a side plate of chips is far healthier for us. Listen to that voice so that you can make food choices that honour and respect your body.
Learn to accept yourself as you are now, stop being sabotaged by falling into the creature’s trap. Address the root of the cause, and not the symptom. Quite simply, listen to your body
Munchwize Dietitians are based in Claremont, Cape Town.
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