What does the word “diet” mean to you? Does it conjure thoughts of eating no carbs? Low fat? Cabbage soup? Paleo? Or maybe you think of a “master cleanse” as the epitome of dieting?
In general, this definition is pretty accurate:
“di·et: a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”
People have been dieting for years, so how can we possibly say it’s time to put an end to it all? We can say that because of these five amazing things that will happen to YOU when you call it quits on dieting forever:
1. You Expand Your Food Horizons
Look back at that definition of dieting and notice the word “restricts.” For the vast majority of diets, your mantra becomes “I will NOT eat __________.” It’s all about restriction.
When you give up dieting, you open yourself up to a mindset of addition.
- What foods can you add that will make you feel wonderful?
- What colors can you use that will make your meals look beautiful?
- Who can you swap recipes with so that you get to enjoy more variety?
Anti-dieting is not about pigging out on unhealthy goods. It’s all about healthy eating achieved through addition, not more restriction.
2. You Focus on Your Health, Not Weight
Dieting forces you to focus on your weight. It’s just as our definition says: The goal of dieting is “…to lose weight…”
Yes, losing weight can be one of the benefits of healthy eating, but it isn’t the only benefit, and certainly isn’t the most important. When you ditch diets, you’re committing to a new way of thinking that emphasizes goals that are so much more important than the number on the scale.
- You eat well so that you feel well.
- You eat healthy foods so that your body works the way it should.
- You make healthy choices because you love yourself.
Aiming for weight loss is a pretty weak motivator. It’s no wonder so many diets fail — they’re focused on the wrong goal. You deserve much more than weight loss.
3. You Reduce Your Stress
You often hear that stress leads to bad food choices. That’s true. But what about the exact opposite?
Desperately trying to avoid “bad” food choices will make you stressed. Just think about it: When your diet is aimed solely at helping you lose weight, and the way you’re going to get there is by restricting everything you eat, you’re bound to feel stressed.
Pressure to see that number on the scale drop is stressful. Tip-toeing around food is stressful. Not being “perfect” makes you feel guilty, and guilt is stressful.
Throwing out the old dieting mindset releases you from this stress, fear, and guilt. Instead, you can focus on making a few healthy choices today. Each of those counts as a win, and racking up wins never feels stressful!
4. You Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term
Diets are almost always short-term focused. Think about a few diets you’ve tried and you’ll see what I mean.
Does anyone really think the grapefruit diet is a healthy way to live? Even some of the less extreme diets are obviously not long-term solutions. No bread, pasta, or rice for the rest of your life? Good luck.
Sure, some of those extreme measures can lead to a quick dip on the scale. You might drop a few pounds momentarily, but if you’re honest with yourself, you know that weight is coming back.
That’s why anti-dieting is so powerful. You’ve left behind the notion that you’re eating for the purpose of controlling your weight. You’ve given up the restrictive approaches that nobody could hold onto for more than a few weeks.
You are free.
You are free to find foods, portions, meal times, and everything else involved with eating that works for YOU. This will take a little trial and error, but that’s okay because you’re doing it for life. There is no rush. You have time.
5. You Actually Get Results
Perhaps the best thing that will happen to you when you ditch dieting?
You will get results.
Again, we’re not focusing just on weight-loss here, but that is one of the results that will come over time as you pay attention to the style of eating that feels good for you personally.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from former clients who say, “It was hard at first to create these new habits, but now it’s so easy and I feel so good.” If this is true, why are so many people still chasing the next miracle diet?
Diets promise instant gratification, and most of us don’t have much patience.
But, if you believe that adopting an anti-dieting mindset will help you eat healthier, feel better, reduce your stress, destroy your guilt, and give you a chance to achieve results that actually last a lifetime, a little instant (and fleeting) gratification doesn’t sound so appealing, does it?
Starting Your Anti-Diet
What can you do right now to start your no-dieting journey?
Write down 3 healthy foods that you normally don’t eat and commit to fitting them into your meals this week.
Remember, dieting is about restriction. Anti-dieting is about feeling free by addition.
So, what are you going to add this week? —Dave Smith