7 WAYS THAT YOU ARE STILL DIETING WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO EAT MORE INTUITIVELY
Updated: Apr 2
Many people have complex experiences with diets and dieting. Its inherent in our society; where thin bodies are portrayed to be healthy and successful. When that couldn't be further from the truth. Health is about much more than the size of your clothes and the number on the scales.
So you have hello to eating intuitively, said no to diet culture and turned your back on calorie restrictions, the restricting and binging cycle and that "diet starts on Monday" phrase.
When you start to eat intuitively again, here are some key dieting rules that you may still be doing, but may not realise:
1. Avoiding food groups e.g. fats or carbs
Many dieting techniques include cutting out whole food groups such as fats or carbohydrates. Popular diets that use these methods include:
(Pictured: A book shelf in a pharmacy in Seattle, WA in 2020!!)
2. Eating at certain times of the day
If you stop eating at 6pm or you limit yourself to a "window" of eating then you're still on a diet.
3. Eating because it's "breakfast/lunch/dinner time"
Often when we are dieting, we feel entitled to eat at certain points in the day because that is what our 'plan' allows. That also works for 'lunch/dinner' time etc.
We may be obliged to eat at a certain time because we work a job that has a fixed lunch break. This can be tricky, but not impossible to navigate. Opt for foods that match your level of hunger at that time. Keeping some snacks on hand can be helpful if you're still genuinely hungry after your meal.
If you have your lunch at 12 and then don't eat until 6.30pm - you may be more inclined to eat past that feeling of satiety. to a point of uncomfortable fullness. By listening to your body and honouring your hunger, you may find that a snack at 3-4pm keeps you satiated and your energy/hunger levels stable until your evening meal. At that time you may find that you eat less at your evening meal because you weren't running on empty for the last 3 hours.
4. Choosing something different to what you ACTUALLY want from the menu
If you are choosing meals you don't want, instead of the meal you really want because you would also like a pudding then you still have a diet mentality. The food rules are still there.
You know deep down you would enjoy a burger or pasta dish instead of a plain salad with the dressing on the side. You are reinforcing that you do not trust your body to stop eating when you are satiated.
This could in turn may lead you to eat more of the dessert than you perhaps would have if you would have had the burger and dessert.
You can stop eating whenever you are satisfied with any meal, you do not have to clear your plate, nor will you be a bad person if some of the food goes in the trash.
5. Filling up on water or coffee because you might be "mistaking your thirst for hunger"
Yes, there is a certain element to that.. Of course we need to maintain optimum hydration, however, when you consistently give your body fluids instead of the food that is craving, you are not treating your body with respect or paying attention to your hunger cues.
In addition to fluids, our body needs carbohydrates fats and proteins in addition to micronutrients in order to maintain are body's functions to keep us healthy and well.
6. Drinking caffeinated beverages to "curb your hunger"
If you are full on ignoring your hunger, then you aren't eating intuitively. Although a mild to moderate intake of caffeine is considered to be safe, it can wreak havoc with your energy levels, not to mention cause GI symptoms in susceptible adults (it is a stimulant after all). Instead, listen to your hunger and if your body is crying out for energy in the form of food then you should listen to it instead of silencing it with that 5th cup of Americano.
7. Inadvertently counting points, syns or calories
When you have dieted for so many years it's really difficult to let go of the habits that you have collected along the way. This includes counting things like Syns, points and calories which can be difficult to wipe your memory of. Having a general idea about the energy content of foods can be helpful in order to maintain optimum bodily functions and give yourself enough energy to to do all of the activities that you would like to. The difficulty comes when guilt and shame still surround your food choices because you are it's still inadvertently doing those pesky calculations in your head. This can lead to overeating of foods that were previously not allowed on diets.
A good way to start to tune into your body would be to complete a food and mood journal. There is a free version of this available in my facebook group. This will encourage you to tune into your inner body signals, instead of the external ones that have nuzzled their way in over the years.
I can't wait to connect with you :)