Is letting go of dieting and the relentless desire to look a certain way giving up?
Let me explain.
The other day, a client asked me if the non-diet approach is giving up? Is it just a new trend? A new set of rules for women to follow? A new way for folks to “eat Oreos and feel good” about it?
Ahhh…. I LOVE this question!
It’s SO real and raw and honest and important to address. Those deep dark lurking questions (and fears) in the back of your mind… You’ve got to ask them so you can move through them.
With that said, my answers to the questions…
1.) Is the non-diet approach giving up? Is it just a new trend?
First, I have to ask… Giving up WHAT exactly? Food rules, body bashing, the illusion that “controlling” and trying to “shrink” ourselves is about willpower or is what will (finally) make us feel better? If giving up these things is what giving up means to you, then I’d say (hell) YES, the non-diet approach is all about giving up! BUT, if learning to practice self-compassion, intuitive eating, and caring for your body and yourself – and letting go of the dieting world – Is what you mean by “giving up,” I challenge you. Or really, I challenge YOU to challenge yourself.
Because THIS non-diet approach isn’t about giving up or a new trend, it’s about reconnecting with your body, mind, heart and soul. Because if you think back, really think back to when you were a kid, you weren’t dieting, beating yourself up about your body, or letting others opinions control you. Instead, you were eating what you wanted, stopping when you were full, playing how you wanted to move your body, eating food guiltlessly, and hanging around kids who made your spirit soar, or who you liked… In other words, before you took in external outside messages about how you should be, look, think, or feel… YOU were listening to your body, heart, mind, and soul. You were intuitively living… Without even knowing it.
So no, it’s NOT a new trend. It’s the biggest best “trend” of all time that can never go wrong – listening to yourself and your body.
2.) Is this a new set of rules to follow?
If you find intuitive eating, personal development, or any type of coaching work as becoming “ruly,” that is simply a sign for you to get curious and see what’s going on for you. Because there are NO rules. There are no “shoulds.” There is no “right” and there is no “normal.” Literally everyone’s path is unique and different and their own and everyone – I mean every human being – goes through hard times. Those times are a part of life. So instead of freaking out or beating yourself up when something doesn’t go as planned or you overate or you had a “bad body image day or food day,” allow yourself to get uncomfortable. Allow yourself to feel, experiment, get curious, and let go of others’ expectations (which usually are just in our heads). I know, I know. It’s hard. But you’ve got to just sit in it and move through it. Eventually, it’s not so hard.
And NO, if you have hard times or “set backs” or whatever… It doesn’t mean you have failed. That body acceptance, love, neutrality (or whatever word feels right to you) isn’t in the cards for you. And it doesn’t mean you need to go searching for another diet… Or start restricting or depriving… Because let’s be real – Where does that get you? This brave work is about accepting, listening, honoring, caring, and moving on so you can LIVE your life. The real triumph is in falling and deciding – even when it feels super hard – to get back up and keep going, even if it’s the teeniest, tiniest step. Because that my sweet friend is resilience. And resilience is something we can build. Build it.
3.) Is this non-diet, intuitive eating approach a way for us to eat Oreos and feel good about it?
First of all, non-diet or anti-diet, doesn’t mean anti-health. Now, is it a way for people to eat Oreos? Sure. I mean why not? BUT… You know what I see WAY more? People on the diet/restrictive-binge cycle binging on Oreos or “forbidden” foods when they finally come around. Or they allow it for themselves, or they’re alone, or they just can’t take it anymore and have to have it. Because, as I can personally testify to and as science and my practice has shown over the years, restriction leads to food obsession and preoccupation. So my question in return is – Is dieting and food rules and “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” a way for us to overeat, binge, feel crazy around food, and then feel bad and shameful about it… AND like there’s something wrong with us? Because in reality, it’s the dieting and weight obsession that got us there in the first place.
I personally (and very strongly) believe that intuitive eating and self-compassion and self-care (and all that beautiful stuff) is where people go when they realize that the diet-binge, weight cycling, disordered eating pyramid isn’t working for them anymore. And they can’t mentally or physically or soulfully do it anymore… Is it scary? YES. Is the idea of food freedom and body trust exciting? YES. Does it take work? Ummm… YES… Because you’ve got to unlearn A LOT of stuff you’ve been told about food, your body, and yourself… Usually, years of stuff. BUT… Is it worth it? Absolutely 3000% YES.
This non-diet, intuitive eating, self-care work is for everyone… As I mentioned earlier, THIS is how we all used to eat and be… It just got lost along the way. But it can come back. You’ve just got to know somewhere in your being that there’s something greater and MORE AND be open to shift the focus from weight, body size, calories (and maybe even nutrition for a bit), SO you can start adding more meaning and satisfaction and food and joy and LIFE into your life. Because after all, it’s just a body… Are we going to spend our lives obsessing about it… Or caring for it?
Because we have a choice.