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control over food

Do You Really Want ‘Control’ Over Food and/or Your Body?

“Instead of either being in control over food while dieting or out of control when not dieting, try choosing. Make a choice, a decision.”

If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know there aren’t many choices. While dieting, you eat what the rules tell you to eat, no thinking required, no decisions to be made.

When you go off (or fall off) a diet, it’s very chaotic. You overeat as a result of the deprivation you experienced while on the diet. Whether it’s simply overeating, or actual binging, this feels like you’re out of control, right?

New clients often tell me that they just want to “get back in control over food.”

I have to question this, do they really want control? What does it feel like to be in control?

Control or Out of Control?

Think about it – being in control is following that diet to the letter. It’s rigid constraint and conformity. You’re trying to keep that grip on yourself so you don’t “cheat.” But your mind and body are fighting you the whole time, keeping you white-knuckling through it.

When you diet, you’re working against your mind and body. They fight back because it’s not an optimal state of being. Restricting food creates a constant state of fight-or-flight because your body is fighting for survival.

Do you really want to be in control, if this is what it takes?

On the other hand, no one enjoys the physical and mental consequences of being out of control over food. It brings on guilt and shame, and you tell yourself you need more “willpower.”

Experiencing guilt and shame after overeating and thinking you need more willpower are both part of the “diet mentality.” These thoughts and beliefs have no place in a peaceful relationship with food.

Another piece of the diet mentality is “black and white thinking.” You’re either in control by dieting, or out of control and overeating. It’s either this or that, there are no other options in between – no gray areas!

I hope at this point neither being in or out of control are very appealing. Let’s move into the gray zone, which is all about choice, or making decisions.

Choices Live in the Gray Area

In the gray zone, all foods are allowed. There is no restriction, and no “good” or “bad” foods. When you choose what you want to eat, you may decide on something yummy or that you’ve been craving. But you may just as easily choose something that your body is asking for. You may feel a craving for a specific type of food your body is wanting.

Intuitive eaters make decisions about what they want to eat. They have their favorite foods, but they are also aware of how different foods make them feel and they often choose those that physically feel good. Whatever they decide to eat, they never spend time feeling guilty or planning a way to “make up for it.”

You may worry that allowing yourself to choose what to eat will lead you to eat chocolate cake all day. At first, this may be the case. But after a few days (if that long) you’ll be tired of the cake and craving something else. Chances are, you’ll choose something that your body is asking for!

The more decisions based on what you and your body want, the more you’ll want foods that provide satisfaction and consistent energy. This is part of making peace with food. As you let go of control and allow for choice, you’ll make satisfying decisions and feel great for it!

reject diet mentality

Reject Diet Mentality: Kick Willpower & Failure To The Curb

“Realize that failing at a diet is not about lacking willpower, diets are set up that they fail people.”

How many times have you “failed” at dieting? It’s probably safe to assume you’d say, “As many times as I’ve been on a diet.”

Maybe you consider one or more of the diets you’ve done as successful. If so, what’s your definition of a “successful diet”?

Many people have told me that some of the diets or programs they’ve done have “worked.” They usually say, “The [name of diet] worked for me – I lost X pounds – but I blew it as usual, and the weight came back, plus more.”

Do you see the problem with this thinking? How can a diet be “successfulif the weight comes back? I understand and have engaged in this way of thinking in the past. The problem is this is what the diet industry wants us to believe… The diet “worked” and then we “failed.”

Reject Diet Mentality

Our belief in this deeply flawed garbage, which will continue until we reject diet mentality, is perpetuated by diet companies worldwide. Keeping this way of thinking alive is how the diet industry continues to bring in over $60 billion every single year.

(Update: according to MarketResearch.com, the weight loss industry continues to grow, a 4.1% increase in 2018 alone, to annual revenue of $72.7 billion.) That doesn’t include money pouring into industries like fitness, beauty, prescription drugs and more in the pursuit of our culture’s impossible thin ideal.

Diet mentality is comprised of several ways of thinking (like black and white thinking) and beliefs (including rules and ‘shoulds’ about food and eating).

One major component of the diet mentality is the belief that you need willpower to “control” your eating or to eat less. Another is the idea that you “fail” at a diet. The truth is that any failing from a diet (which happens at least 95% of the time), is NOT your fault!

But you hear it all the time, “I really blew it on my diet, I need to have more willpower!”

But willpower doesn’t work because it just adds to the restriction and suffering that diets already provide. The human body is not designed to quiet down when it’s hungry. It works very hard to get you to eat because it doesn’t know you’re intentionally starving it. So the harder you work at not eating, the harder your body will work at gaining body fat. It’s doing its job, which is to keep you alive.

Failure is a Diet Industry Tool…

The idea of failure, especially that YOU have failed, is how the diet industry keeps you coming back, diet after diet after diet. The truth is that all diets, every last one, have failed you!

Blaming consumers for the failure of diets is manipulation and it’s done deliberately. Diet companies use guilt and shame as marketing tactics, preying on vulnerability to ensure their customers return.

They tell you you just need more willpower and you’ll lose all the weight you want and live happily ever after.  Another way they entice customers back is with their “new and improved” programs – usually around the New Year. Have you been intrigued when they claim to have found the “missing link” or when they parade a handful of women across your TV, having lost a lot of weight?

Have you ever noticed you never see the same women on parade in successive commercials? (Except maybe Marie Osmand) It’s because 95-97% of the time they have gained the weight back. In fact, there are no studies showing any diet that enables maintenance of lost weight any longer than two years. Are you hoping to just keep off the weight for two years?

You Deserve Better

Diet companies know their programs don’t work. They also know in business it’s easier (and cheaper!) to keep a customer than to obtain a new customer. Keep those customers coming back, they make more money while the customer regains the weight, along with more guilt, shame, and feeling like a “failure.”

It’s disgusting the diet industry continues to get away with all these lies. What other industry would survive with a consistent 95-97% failure rate? If 95% of all iPhones didn’t work, could Apple convince you it’s your fault your phone doesn’t work?

Remember, if you haven’t been able to lose or maintain weight loss from dieting, it isn’t your fault. However, if you continue to believe it’s your fault, the diet industry will continue to flourish and profit – and you’ll remain in diet prison. Instead, I invite you to reject dieting in all its forms.

Quitting the diet roller coaster is a courageous and important step towards making peace with food and your body. You’ll have so much more time, energy (and money!) when you stop fighting your body and let go of diet mentality. Dieting only supports the diet industry and allows it to continue to control your thoughts and how you feel about yourself!

The best part of rejecting diets for good? You can stop putting your life on hold and finally live your life now!