The first principle of intuitive eating is rejecting the diet mentality. Diet mentality refers to the idea and hope that there is a diet or eating program out there that will help you achieve your “perfect” weight.
Most people have been on some form of diet hoping to lose weight and 99% of the time, the weight comes back. These same people then blame themselves and their lack of will power. However, diets are designed to only work short term. They are not sustainable, so, it is not the person who has failed at the diet – it is the diet that has failed the person. Not only will the weight come back, but studies show that a person will likely gain back more weight than they lost.
Human biology is designed to fight against famine and starvation and this is how your body feels when you are on a diet. As a result, the body goes into “power saving” mode. While in this mode, your body runs on lower energy levels and stores some energy for later. This stored energy usually hangs out near the vital organs – in the stomach area. A person sees this and tries harder to lose weight, which just perpetuates this cycle. This is the scientific explanation for yo-yo dieting. Humans are not meant to control their bodies and weight in this way.
Why do people still go on diet after diet if there is scientific proof that diets don’t work? We, unfortunately, live in a society where diet culture is strong. We are being bombarded by messages and images all around us that we need to look a certain way and that this is in our control. This also implies that we are the reason diets fail. Our current situation is proof of this. We are currently in a pandemic with so many people getting sick and dying. We are still being bombarded with messages and memes about diet and exercise regimes to follow while in self-isolation.
This is why we must reject all diet mentality. Get mad at these messages, throw out diet books and apps. Commit to intuitive eating and no more dieting regardless of what people say or do around you. It is hard but it is possible and will lead to freedom and a better relationship with food.
In this monthly series, each principle will be explained so stay tuned for principle 2: Honour Your Hunger. To learn more and dive deep into this subject, check out The Intuitive Eating book and workbook by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.