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To Diet or Maybe Rather Not?

Apr 13, 2008
Do you start dieting after or before major events in your life? Are you ending up discouraged? You are not alone.

Let us consider this. If diets worked, would there be that many of them around?

The meaning of the word "diet" often hits us as a restriction. Diet really means your preferred food choices, but we are conditioned to use it as a way to describe food choices for weight loss. Often, I am asked how I eat. When describing my diet, I refer to it as my food choices because of the disassociation those words have with the concept of a diet. It also sounds a lot more fluid and empowering. I do not really believe in being on a diet, since it indicates a detour from regular life and will therefore only work for the extended period of time we are on it. If it is a healing diet, which is meant to shift an imbalance in your body, then the effect continues if you maintain the new food choices after the period of selective eating is over.

Going on a crash diet might be the solution for people who need a quick fix after a time of overindulgence. However, this is also what gets us into the pain and struggling of yo-yo diets. After a crash diet, we are often left with more struggling and imbalanced weight gain afterwards. Diets for weight-loss do not really take your health into consideration. Products, which claim to help you lose weight are often loaded with ingredients that do not enhance your health or help your long-term food habits. Many still do not know that fat-free ends up meaning high sugar content and increased weight. The antidote to yo-yo diets is learning about health-promoting foods that support your body in finding its natural balance.

What is it that makes the typical diet fail? For one thing, there is the idea of living with a list of yes and no foods in your back pocket that seems unappealing. There is also the anti-social aspect of it. We tend to combine food, celebration, and socializing. This makes it hard for us to say no to foods since we align that with being difficult in the eyes of others.

Another reason is that a diet does not implement the wholeness of who we are, or keep in mind that our food is more to us than the physical substance we put in our mouth. If it were that easy, we could all do it. It is NOT a mind over matter issue. Willpower is great as a concept, but it does not withstand stress and emotional challenges as they come up. Neither does a diet.

Why is a healing diet different? We omit foods that might make us feel worse when eating them, but sometimes it is not the immediate and direct impact of the foods that we notice. It is the long-term effect. Different food choices affect our lives. Basically, the age-old line "you are what you eat" does hold true. On a crash diet, it is hard to keep the long-term effect in mind because crash diets are very restrictive, especially when it comes to portion control. When we engage in a healing diet, it allows our body to regain its balance and reset its functions. This can seem like a very strict diet for a while, but it has a greater purpose than weight loss; its entire focus is on health. Weight loss is just a side effect and an indication of how our body will always try to rid itself of excess when allowed to.

In general, learning self-nourishment is the answer. Yes, the amount of food you eat does equal weight gain or weight loss, but the proportion of the foods you eat is what is actually important. Low calorie food like vegetables make it possible to still feel like you are eating a lot while losing weight.

Overall, it comes down to one thing; learning how to take better care of yourself with good and healthy food choices. Making a change that gives you consistent weight loss and allows you to start new habits that feel like you are honoring and nurturing yourself for your future is the goal, not punishing yourself for loving food.

The most important part of self-care is to learn to listen to our bodies and our emotions. It does take some work, sure. But it is worth it. It helps change a lifelong relationship with food and create a new, better one in its place. A big change takes a lot of small steps. Learning what works for you, not just a list of foods to choose, and understand the rhythm with which you live your life is essential.
About the Author
Food and Nourishment Counselor Jeanette Bronee from the Path for Life SelfNourishment Center, supports people in change. She teaches about food and self-caring habits and is an upbeat non-dogmatic resource, inspiration, and support when you want to find your path to new food choices and lifestyle habits that take better care of you. Visit us at our website which is at http://www.pathforlife.com
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