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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Horihan

Don't Go on a Diet. Do This Instead...

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

Hi Friends-

This is the time of year when a lot of people are feeling dissatisfied with their bodies (especially with all that holiday eating), and start thinking about how they’re going to lose weight in the coming year. It’s very common to make New Year’s Resolutions that include diet plans. You may have been there before, going on and off different diets, cleanses, special supplements or foods, but none of them really seem to stick. They may work for a little while, but the results don't last. Diets just aren’t sustainable long term- they are just quick fixes. Learning to eat Mindfully is so much healthier for your body and mind, and can also be a great tool to maintain a healthy weight. Mindful eating is a lifestyle of eating according to what your body needs.

Let’s compare diets to Mindful eating.

Diets are really about resisting food- trying not to eat too much, staying away from certain foods, perhaps even at certain times of day. Diets often categorize “good foods vs. bad foods.” On a diet, there are certain foods you cannot have. What happens when you tell yourself you can’t have something? You want it even more, right? When we restrict, it’s only matter of time before we run out of “will power” and eat it all, and in large quantities. Then we feel bad about it. In Mindful eating, no foods are off limits. It is about enjoying food more by experiencing it with all your senses. Have the brownie you want and enjoy it slowly and savor the aromas, textures, and flavors. If you do this, it will lessen your desire to eat more because you will feel more satisfied. You will learn to naturally consume the food in appropriate portions. In this way, cravings and overeating become less of a problem!

Some diets cut out entire food groups. Not only is omitting food groups less satiating, but it can have long term health consequences when you don’t meet your nutritional needs. Mindful eating accepts all foods but helps you make wiser choices. When we eat Mindfully, we stop eating on “autopilot” and pause to consider all of our options and make conscious decisions about how we will fuel our bodies.

Diets often prescribe certain amounts of certain foods. Mindful eating is more concerned with eating “enough” (not too much, not too little) food, not a specific amount. Dieters often do not trust themselves to make healthful decisions about eating, so attempt to stick to diet plans very strictly. Mindful eating is about connecting with your body and becoming familiar with your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues, trusting your body to tell you what it needs, and recognizing that might not be the same every day. As you practice listening to your body, you will become more confident in your ability to give it what it needs.

Diets often require you to track calories, measure portions, and monitor your weight. Mindful eating encourages us to slow down and be fully present in the experience of eating, and observe how foods make us feel. Mindful eating may include some short-term food journaling to help gain awareness of our eating patterns, but is not really concerned with numbers.

Dieting focuses on weight loss and appearance. Mindful eating focuses on health. In fact, studies show that Mindful eating actually leads to better food choices. So, while weight loss may be an outcome of Mindful eating, it is the healthy eating habits that we focus on, not the number on the scale.

Diets are about rules. Mindful eating is about flexibility and choices. There are no “cheat days” because there is no such thing as cheating. Food is not a reward for being “good” the rest of the week. Food is fuel. Diets can result in a lot of guilt if you “fail” at your diet or eat food you’re not “supposed to.” Mindful eating is about non-judgement and self-acceptance instead of self-criticism.

If you want to ditch the diet mentality and start eating Mindfully, I can help. When you join my one on one coaching program, I will help you get consistent with specific Mindful eating strategies, so you can feel happier about the way you eat and more confident about your body. I can also help you stick with physical activity that love to keep you fit and strong! Interested? To learn more about how coaching works and see if we would be a good fit, contact me to schedule you free Strategy Session.

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