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Why I Gave Up Dieting

You were probably initially drawn to my page because it dealt with fitness. Maybe it was because you knew me in “real life” and needed a little kick in the butt to remind you to stay/get in shape. I posted tons of workout selfies, meal prep that I had done, diet plans I chose to use through things like Beachbody (never going to knock them because they helped me when I wanted to start working out more).  Things were really different if you scroll back to just a year or two ago.

But then I stopped. I stopped posting as much. I stopped taking workout selfies. I stopped sharing what I was eating. I was feeling miserable. No matter how much I was dieting and exercising it felt like I was just the same. I felt like there was such a small difference and I was driving myself crazy. I felt like I was failing as the “fitness” role model I wanted to be. I was not going out with friends.  I was avoiding social events. I was limiting what I ate when I was on the road for work. I lived a life that was completely limited.

And when I would “cheat” or get the chance to have something delicious, I was a monster. I was out of control. I would eat the entire bag of chips in one sitting. The entire pint of Halo Top I picked up earlier that day would be gone that night (I know this one isn’t “bad” but eating a pint every other night was not a good thing either). I was ravenous and when I had a chance to eat “bad food”, I went crazy and binged.

It was a vicious cycle. I would diet, be so proud of myself, go out and binge eat, and come back and feel like absolute crap.  Then I would start again.  IT WAS INSANITY. And I was exhausted. Exhausted about hating my body. Exhausted about feeling self conscious all the time when I was eating something deemed “not healthy”.  So I came across certain Instagram feeds that promoted this thing called “intuitive eating”. I know what the two words mean separately but I was curious about what they meant when used together…

I started doing some research and listened to the audiobook “Big Girl: How I gave up dieting and got a life”.  It changed everything for me. I also listened to “Intuitive Eating: A revolutionary Program that works”.  I started practicing what each book taught me: there is no such thing as a “bad food”. I swear that was my wakeup call. Nothing was off limits and contrary to what you may think, this made me want “bad stuff” a whole lot LESS. I knew I could have it so I didn’t have to binge anymore. It was freeing and really helped me start healing my relationship with food.

I also learned to listen to my body. I started asking myself questions like: Are you really hungry or bored? Are you eating because you’re hungry or are you emotional? If I’m feeling emotional, what’s the reason behind it? I became more in tune with myself and recognized triggers. When I was stressed about the wedding, money, or school, I had a tendency to not eat much and reach for things like Hot Cheetos and wine.  But I recognized I was stressed at that point and found ways to try to eliminate stress to make my life a little easier.  I figured out that I didn’t really care for big dinners and shook the need that I had to have some sort of complex carb to eat with dinner like a sweet potato. I opted for meals that were focused on protein and veggies for dinner because that’s what my body wanted and what made me feel good before going to bed a few hours later.  I stopped assuming I was hungry for breakfast at 7am and asked myself “are you really hungry or are you eating out of habit?” I started eating more vegan and vegetarian food because my body was not feeling meat as much. This showed me a whole new world of ingredients and restaurants that have blown my mind.

This changed also brought along a lot of fear. Fear of weight gain because I wasn’t eating 4-6 small meals a day balanced with protein, fat and carbs. Fear of eating items that were previously off limits. Fear of being more than the size 10/12 I’ve pretty much been my entire adult life. But I strive every day to shake that fear and remind myself that my size is not a determinant of my worth or potential. Yes, people that don’t know and people that do know me may think I have changed or look different but if they are people that know me for who I am will love me more now because I can actually go out with them and have a spontaneous dinner date or happy hour date in the middle of the week.  It has freed me to start this new relationship with food, eating, my family, my friends, and my body.

But there’s one crucial piece I have not shared with you…

You will always see me exercising and moving. I just love it.  It makes me feel so good. It helps me with my anxiety. I’m such a busy body and my mind goes a thousand miles per hour and working out helps me slow down and be present. I will move as long as I can and I will always use it as the best form of free therapy. But that works for ME. Maybe you just like to take walks with your dog or go on hikes. Maybe you like to do yoga at home. Just make sure to move the way that makes you feel happy. Celebrate your body and embrace its ability to move.  Don’t use exercise as a form of punishment because you ate a sleeve of Oreos.

I hope this post inspires you to embrace who you are and I challenge you to shake the stigma of dieting. In the books I read I learned that 95% of diets fail. Why do you want to intentionally set yourself up for a life of failure? It’s a culture that makes us feel “less than” and encourages us to buy products that make us “better”. Fit looks different on everyone. I work out four to six days a week and I think I’m pretty fit when I curl those 25 pound dumbbells, but I also wear a size 12/14 in pants and a M/L in shirts. But I am happy. I am thankful for who I am and for all my body is able to do. You are perfect the way you are and you should embrace that and shake that diet stigmas and do what you enjoy.

I am here for each an every one of you if you want to take the journey with me. I no longer entertain dieting or diet culture but I’m ready to help you change your life and find all the happiness and fun I’ve found by giving up dieting.

All hail the #antidiet movement!!!!

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