Dieting can offer a sense of feeling in control, but has it given you that control or made you feel OUT of control? That’s what food marketing, media, food substitutes, diet brands and even people with the best intentions, sometimes unintentionally promote. Of course, there is substantial amount of research to show that this statement is oversimplified and that nutrition and our bodies are much more nuanced and complex.
If this cycle sounds familiar, you are not alone, you are not weak or flawed - you’re a human and you’ve probably been tricked that diets equal health and are something we should always be on or doing. The honeymoon period of dieting/being good/eating clean may feel sweet, but it’s short lived and leaves you chasing that high and going right back through the cycle again. Eating should not feel guilty and food doesn’t have to be scary.
The diet cycle is a trap that many people get caught in after repeated attempts of dieting or restricting their food intake to lose weight and the cycle goes like this:
You restrict certain foods/food groups to try and lose weight.
You start to view foods as “good” and “bad.”
You start labelling certain foods as “guilt-free.”
Feeling pressure to always choose the “healthiest” option.
You feel deprived and your cravings for restricted or forbidden foods increases.
Your cravings are uncontrollable and you give into the foods you’ve been avoiding; having felt deprived for so long you eat until you’re uncomfortably full or binge eat.
You start having “cheat days” or a way of eating that makes you feel the need to “cheat.”
You feel guilty for not having the will power to control you cravings, and you may feel like a failure and disappointed at yourself.
Once again you restrict yourself to make up for the binge you recently went through.
You start a new diet and the cycle starts once again.
Dieting severely restricts your food choices and extremely difficult to sustain in the long run. Your body doesn’t get the adequate energy or correct nutrients it needs to function optimally and at times it can damage your self-esteem by setting you up for failure. Avoid dieting. Why keep doing something that doesn’t work? Make food choices that nourish your body, taste good, and make you feel happy. Each meal doesn’t have to be “perfect,” it’s what you eat consistently over time that matters.