If you’re a woman who’s been dieting or watching your weight for awhile, there’s a good chance that you’ve lost touch with your body’s hunger signals. Did you know that your body is actually your best source of natural non diet weight control? Betcha didn’t know that, because it’s a closely guarded secret. The diet organization invests billions of dollars each year in an effort to keep you dependent upon dieting.
If you’ve been a dieter, you’ve been taught to accept that going on a diet and depriving yourself of the foods you love is the only solution to your problem. And if you want to control what you’re eating and/or lose weight than being on a diet is something that you’ll just have to grin and bear for the rest of your life. But by accepting that diets are the answer, you are agreeing that you have no control over your body and you’re willing to give up your power to an external authority; your diet.
This belief in the diet solution has driven generations of people to seek the miracle diet, hoping that one day the right diet will come along and guarantee them to lose weight. But did you know that…
Diets Don’t Work
If you’ve been struggling for years with being overweight, yo-yoing up and down the scale, caught in a cycle of binging and dieting, then you must know that it’s not your fault and you’re most definitely not alone in your frustration, because diets don’t work.
A new study published in the April issue of the journal “American Psychologist” indicates that for most people, dieting just doesn’t work. Samantha Heller is a nutritionist with “Health” magazine and she offers her professional opinion suggesting why diets don’t work. Here is a summary of her recommendations:
Why Diets Don’t Work
- People consider them temporary – the tendency is to think of a diet as just until you lose weight, and then you can go back to eating the way you did before.
- One size does not fit all – diets are too restrictive, they’re too rigid, not allowing for individual or cultural preferences, budget, food availability
When asked why people gain more weight after going off a diet, Ms. Heller explained, “When you lose weight and you’re restricting calories, your body thinks there is a famine and you’re starving. Your body doesn’t know that you’re doing this on purpose. Your body’s mission is to conserve energy, and it does that in the form of fat. When you start eating again, your body is making preparation for the next upcoming famine by storing fat. This slows down your metabolism and fills up your fat cells. To reduce your weight without triggering your body’s starvation response, you must do it slowly and carefully.
Experts suggest that the best long term solution for permanent weight control is to eat in moderation and exercise more. But if you’ve always been a dieter, you’re probably wondering how you can live without that sense of structure so familiar to you in dieting. You may not like it, but you’ve come to rely on the rigid regimentation that guides you every step of the way as a diet does. These fears of yours are very natural and understandable because the years of dieting that you’ve endured has conditioned you to think about yourself and your relationship to food in a very disempowering way. But now it’s time to give you back the controls and teach you how to feel safe around food. The answer is in you!
Your Body: The Best Source of Natural Non Diet Weight Control
Dr. Nancy Bonios, creator of The Bonios Plan: Beyond Dieting Program (a non diet approach to weight control) says, “The National Center for Health Statistics and numerous medical authorities have recently highlighted this near total failure of dieting as a means of long term weight control. What had been completely overlooked, in pursuing the ‘miracle diet was the miraculous abilities we humans, naturally have.”
If you stop to think about it, your body is already doing so many miraculous and amazing things for you every single day. All of these processes are regulated by a part of your consciousness that is called your subconscious mind. It’s your subconscious mind that directs your body to perform all the actions necessary to keep you alive. That’s why you’re breathing, your heart’s pumping, your body knows when and how and where to move blood. It’s constantly releasing toxins, repairing, regenerating your cells and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Without you having to think about it or consciously plan what to do, or how to do it, thanks to the direction of your subconscious mind, your body automatically oversees every intricate detail of your functioning for you. So then why wouldn’t you be willing to trust it to guide you to control your appetite and manage your weight?
Make Peace with Your Hunger – It’s Nothing to Fear
By nature, our bodies are engineered to crave food when we’re hungry and stop eating before we get too full. A newborn baby demonstrates this each time they turn their head away and refuse mom’s breast or the bottle. Intuitively they understand that if they continue to eat beyond the point of their tummy’s satisfaction, they will be uncomfortable. Diets inhibit that natural connection between you and your body. If you want to be able to rediscover your body’s natural ability to feel satisfied, first you have to be willing to make peace with your hunger.
Intuitive Eating: Nature’s Formula for Effective Weight Control
Eating in accordance with your body’s hunger cues is known as intuitive or attuned eating. The term, “intuitive eating” was first coined in the early 1990’s by two prominent nutritionists and registered dieticians, Elyse Resch, M.S.R.D.,F.A.D.A and Evelyn Tribole, M.S.R.D. in their book, “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works.” As far as I’m concerned, there is no other book available that can explain the entire process of how to become an intuitive eater as precisely as this book. It rocks!
The Benefits of Eating In Response to Your Body vs. Dieting
There are so many wonderful benefits to learning how to eat intuitively. They include the followiing:
Easy to Resist Temptation: When you are eating intuitively, it’s not typical that you would find yourself drawn to want food during times when you’re not physically hungry. That means you would have no trouble resisting the ‘temptation’ to eat because you would automatically associate eating more than your fill, with being in pain. For the most part, you wouldn’t feel any particular urge or desire to eat something simply because you see a picture of food, smell something good, or even see someone else eating, That behavior of craving food when you’re not hungry is a compulsion borne out of a sense of deprivation and a fear of never being able to get enough. This is a consequence of dieting.
Eat foods you love: With dieting, there are so many restrictions to what foods you can eat. Often we believe that we can’t, shouldn’t or mustn’t eat certain foods. As dieters, we’ve been led to believe that there are certain foods over which we have no control, so we do our best to avoid them, but this creates an unnatural desire or urge to eat them. In your pursuit of learning to become an intuitive eater, you will be leveling the playing field. As long as you know that you are free to eat what you want, you can always have the foods you enjoy.
This is actually essential to your success in learning how to become an intuitive eater, because by learning to eat and feel safe around your old temptations, you will re-establish that sense of trust that has been broken from years of dieting. As you become more keenly aware of how your stomach feels, and how your hunger level is changing, it will be easier to stop eating before you get too full.
My Experience of Learning How to Become An Intuitive Eater: Discovering the Missing Link
At 47 years old, I have been on and off diets for most of my life, since the age of 11. Back in 2006, I finally decided to take a leap of faith and made the decision to stop dieting. A friend had told me about intuitive eating and I saw it as an opportunity to finally get off of the diet roller coaster. I knew in my heart that I just had to prove to myself that I could trust myself around food.
Within the first week that I began the process, I was easily able to recognize that certain foods no longer tasted as wonderful as I ‘remembered’ them. My first milestone experience was eating a potato chip and deciding that it tasted too stale. I was shocked and amazed because that would never have stopped me from eating chips before. Shortly after my family and I took a trip to Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania and with chocolate everywhere and easily accessible, none of it appealed to me and all I wanted was a piece of broiled chicken. A couple days later after several days of eating french fries, I was craving a baked potato. Each of these instances was proof to me that this process really worked, so I was committed to continuing to learn it, but as impossibly picky as I was becoming, I was unable to feel satisfied. I always wanted to eat more. Now I know why.
Intuitive Eating As a Way of Being Gentle with Yourself, but What If You’re not Used to that?
As a woman with a ton of eating issues and a history of abuse, through the years I’ve learned to become my own worst critic. I’m often harder on myself than anyone ever could be. From my understanding of intuitive eating, I realize that it is a process that is based on learning how to treat yourself kindly and lovingly. Since that didn’t come as second nature to me, I ended up constantly eating more than my body could comfortably handle. I learned the hard way that it’s not easy to just make a conscious decision to take care of yourself, eat in response to your hunger and expect that the weight will just begin to drop off. It doesn’t work that way. Here’s why:
Like every other body function, your habits around eating are controlled by your subconscious mind. If you have a headful of stress and upset, and your need to eat to comfort yourself is much stronger than your desire to get thinner, you will face a conflict. Here’s why:
In the same way that your subconscious mind controls your body processes, it also holds the internal image of how you see yourself; your self image. Consider your subconscious mind to be like the internal operating system of a computer software program. It’s the warehouse that stores all of your life experiences, beliefs and interpretations about who you are and the world in which you live. Since I’ve had horrible experiences with dieting in the past, I had a strong belief that I couldn’t trust myself around food and that I would probably always be fat and ugly. This meant that I was carrying around what I like to call a fat and ugly self image, so the more that I felt sorry for myself and felt out of control, the more I wanted to eat to feel better. Because the stress in my life at that time was so out of control and I wasn’t using the stress relief techniques I knew to help myself, I just kept on eating.
My faith in the process of the intuitive eating, never wavered, because I knew it worked and because I was present on so many non diet discussion boards, I was constantly reading about other people’s successes. For me, the intuitive eating gave me the ability to get very picky about what foods I would eat, but it seemed that the guidelines for the process were so vague that it lacked the structure that I had come to expect from years of dieting. Left to my own devices, I had no clue how to listen to my body’s hunger. To my way of thinking, my body was always hungry, so I kept eating until I gained 35 extra pounds.
Mortified and embarrassed out of my mind, I knew that something was missing. In a lightbulb Aha moment, putting my coach hat on, I realized that something was missing. That’s when I knew that I had to integrate what I had learned about stress relief and actually use it on myself. In a flash, as soon as I started doing that, my aching, screeching hunger, was silenced. That’s when I knew that stress relief was a key element to succeeding with non diet weight control.
If you find yourself consistently overeating, remember it’s just an old habit that comes from not having other methods of dealing with your stress. If you’re unable to stop eating, it’s a signal that your body is giving you indicating that you’ve got to get really serious about dealing with your stress.