How to Stop Dieting

What thoughts or images come to mind when you think of the concept of “dieting?”

Maybe you think of massive suffering, restriction, and deprivation.

Maybe you remember the times you’ve tried to follow this- or- that diet, and failed.

Maybe you remember how you gained back more weight after the diet than you originally set out to lose.

Yep. Dieting in the traditional sense can be all of those things.

I know. I’ve been there. 

As a figure competitor in my “younger”  days, I subscribed to some pretty regimented dieting practices.

And they worked.

Until they didn’t anymore.

Eventually my metabolism tanked and I spent the better part of six years re-learning everything I thought I knew about nutrition and mental health while recovering from significant metabolic damage. 

I’ve learned a thing or two about the effects of long term diets and the “dieter’s mentality.”

Here’s how I was able to break the cycle.

If I can do it, you can do it too: 

Strawberry Pic dieting

1). Stop saying ” I can’t. I’m on a diet.” 

Have you noticed what happens as soon as you utter that phrase? If it’s ice cream you’re avoiding, then all you’ll be able to think about is ice cream. This is how our human brain works. And we also really don’t like “rules.” Before you know it, you resent your diet and it’s rules and your response will be “Screw you, diet! I’m going to eat whatever I damn well please!!” In order to succeed in the long term, you MUST say bye-bye to the “can’s” and ‘can’ts’. Throw your ‘good’ and ‘bad’ list out the window. No food is inherently good or bad, some just offer more nutrition than others. Your “new diet” = eating healthy and nutritious foods, most of the time.

2). Acknowledge our abundance, then be mindful 

Have you noticed when you’re on a diet and you do “cheat”, you inhale your food and act as if this is the last time you’ll ever get to eat pizza EVER AGAIN!? I used to do this after a competition ( my record is 7 slices of pizza!). I would literally eat as if at any moment, someone was going to walk up behind me and snatch the food off my plate. Definitely NOT healthy, and I sure didn’t feel very good physically or mentally afterwards.

In order to move past this sense of urgency we must acknowledge a few things:

a). If you’re reading this and you live in North America, chances are we’re not going to run out of food any time soon

b). If you just eat until your satisfied and then later decide you want MORE of whatever food, then you can just go and get more if you really want it.

Be mindful and aware of what and how much you’re eating while you’re eating it, stop when you’re satisfied but not stuffed, and tell you”rself ” There’s always more where that came from.” This attitude will help you break the binge then feel terrible “cycle.

3). Focus on consistency, not perfection 

This one helped me a LOT! As a self-professed perfectionist overachiever, I used to feel like if every meal wasn’t spot on, if I didn’t “kill” every workout, then I’d failed. This is simply not true.

One meal won’t break you, nor will one less-than-enthusiastic workout.

The name of the game is consistency. Consistently moving in the direction of your goals is what will truly bring you long term success. If you fall down. Get back up. Repeat indefinitely.

4). Eat like an adult….most of the time

Ok, this is where I get to be “tough love Jacqui” for a minute! If you’re 40 years old and still eating like a college student, you need to grow up. The same holds true if you’re 25 and you eat like a five year old. Accept and understand that a diet consisting mainly of high sugar, processed foods WILL cause health problems and  WON”T help you reach your fitness goals. If you are old enough to vote, drink alcohol, raise a family and pay a mortgage, then you should not be existing on fast food, chicken nuggets, Captain Crunch and pop tarts.

Choosing to eat healthy unprocessed foods 80% of the time is not a ‘diet’. It’s called being a responsible adult. If you want to have a donut on Sunday with your kids, or a few slices of pizza during football, great. This should just not be your M.O. all 7 days of the week.

Grow up. Learn how to cook. Collect healthy recipes. Eat at home five or six nights a week and then REALLY enjoy that special treat when you do go out to eat.

Your future self (and your family) will thank you!

P.S. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to balance your diet ( or you want to learn exactly what a “balanced diet” is, be sure to check out my Fight the 15 Challenge program. 

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