Why you need to ditch dieting FOREVER!

ditch dieting forever

My 3 reasons to ditch dieting forever & what to do instead if you still want to lose weight.

Back when I worked for NHS Weight-loss services I heard the same story over & over again…

“I wish I’d never started dieting in the first place. I’d give anything to be that size again.”

The people who came on our programme, especially the women, had tried EVERYTHING to lose weight. Every single time they’d piled all the weight back on again. Plus a bit more each time they ‘failed’ yet another diet.

Women (particularly mums) who started out wanting to drop a dress size for their wedding or lose a few pounds before that party. Decades of dieting left them 4 sizes bigger, frustrated, miserable & completely confused about what to eat.

It was the story of my Grandma over & over. She died when I was 11, after struggling with her weight all her life.

A few years after she died I was shocked when we found some old images of her from before she started dieting. I couldn’t believe how slim she was – she looked amazing! But apparently she was still carrying her baby-weight and thought she had to ‘get her body back’. You know, the body she had before having 3 kids! So she started dieting and got bigger with every diet that failed her.

That really stuck with me.

Dieting leaves you bigger & makes you feel miserable about yourself. It sets you up to have a really shitty relationship with food. So I want to share with you my 3 reasons why you need to ditch dieting forever and what to do instead.

1 – Dieting is too restrictive

There’s too much focus on finding the ‘perfect’ plan & following it perfectly (or you’ve failed!). Most diet plans will get you weight-loss results, but they’re too hard to stick to forever, because they’re not flexible. Whatever you do to lose weight and eat healthier, you have to do forever! If the plan is too rigid it’s not necessarily going to fit in with your lifestyle long-term. That’s why you might find you can follow it for a few weeks, but then ‘fall off the wagon’.

Diets are often too strict to be healthy too. If you’re cutting out whole food groups or types of foods, or severely limiting your food (even if it’s for just a day each week) this can lead to nutrient deficiencies. When you’re not getting enough energy or nutrients that’s when the cravings pop up. Especially the cravings for the food you’re telling yourself you’re ‘not allowed’. You know the food I mean – the crisps, biscuits, cake and chocolate! When you eat the ‘banned’ foods you feel guilty, so then you end up eating even more… You think you’ve ‘failed’, might as well keep eating to try and feel better now you’ve ‘blown it. Before you know it you get stuck in that binge-guilt cycle!

2 – Dieting is too drastic

When you go on a diet you change too much in one go. When a diet-plan is too different to your normal daily eating habits, it’s too hard to stick to long-term. Human beings are creatures of habit and habits are bloody hard to change! You might think you’ll just stick it out until you get to your target then you can stop… but it doesn’t work like that. Again, whatever you do to lose weight, you need to be able to keep it going forever or you’ll just pile the weight back on again.

Also when you make big, drastic changes it becomes this big deal. You know what I’m talking about – when you have that ‘last supper’, where you binge on all the stuff you love before you ‘start’ the diet. Then you clear out all the kitchen cupboards to get rid of the treats you’re ‘not allowed’. Followed by you then craving all those ‘banned’ foods. Dieting feels like this big chore; all about punishing & depriving yourself – no wonder you don’t want to stick at it forever. Then the relief when you’re finished on the diet which leads to more over-eating and more guilt & binges… is any of this sounding familiar?

ditch dieting forever
No food is ‘bad’ for you, healthy eating is about the overall balance of your diet. I give you permission to enjoy the cake 100% guilt-free!

3 – Dieting makes you feel like crap

The diets and slimming-clubs give you too many rules about healthy eating. They overcomplicate it because all they’re concerned about is the results rather than helping you build healthy habits. That makes you focus more on the number on the scales, when you could do with chucking those scales out! They make you think weight-loss is the only thing that matters. Your self-esteem becomes centred around the number on the scales and your self-worth depends on whether you’re losing weight or not. What a crock of shite right?!

There’s not enough focus on eating to be healthy or moving to feel good & enjoy life. And there’s definitely not enough attention to your mental & emotional health & wellbeing. It’s all about the weight-loss results and food being this big bad thing that needs to be restricted or cut out… It’s no wonder you end up with a shitty relationship with food and obsessed with what the scales tell you. Dieting gives you this exhausting ‘all or nothing’ mentality, where you’re either following the plan perfectly or you’ve FAILED. Every diet you try leaves you thinking you’re a complete failure. So of course you turn to food to feel better…

Food becomes an emotional crutch rather than fuel and nourishment.

It’s time to ditch dieting forever – here’s what to do instead:

1 – Change your perspective about food & weight

Make a commitment to ditch all that dieting mentality once and for all. Change your focus away from your weight being an indicator of your self-worth. Tell yourself you’re never going to ‘go on a diet’ ever again, you’re never going to talk about ‘slimming’ or use any of that dieting language any more. Instead focus on building a healthy attitude towards food as something that fuels and nourishes your body.

Stop thinking of food as something you have to limit and restrict. Ask yourself “what do I NEED to eat?” rather than focusing on what to cut out. Look at your lifestyle & behaviour and concentrate on building healthy habits to feel well rather than to lose weight. Look at what you need to do to feel happier in your life overall. How can you build your sense of self-esteem & self-worth regardless of your weight & size? What can you do to feel fulfilled and enjoy life? When you stop obsessing over weight, food & dieting, life becomes so much more fun right?!

2 – Tweak it!

You’re probably thinking, but my normal eating habits are awful, I’m not doing any exercise and there’s LOADS I need to do to be healthier… Don’t panic! Just tweak it – start with small changes that you think you could stick to for life. Ask yourself what habits do you want to build? What do you think you could do forever? What do you WANT to do?

It’s much easier and kinder to yourself in the short term to take it one step at a time. It takes practice to build new habits for life and it’s easier to stick to forever if you just make small adjustments to what you normally do. Ask yourself what is the one small thing you could do that would make the biggest difference, but feel easy to do. That’s where you need to start.

Then focus on keeping up those changes rather than obsessing over the results. It takes longer this way so you need patience. Remember there’s no miracle quick-fix cure when it comes to being healthy, it all comes back to your regular daily habits. But it’s what you do 80% of the time that counts, it doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. A little slip-up won’t hurt, one day won’t make a difference, remember the bigger picture.

3 – Focus on nourishing your body

Forget all the dieting rules and start by focusing on eating regular balanced meals every day. This way you’re more likely to get all the nutrients you need. Start the day with breakfast, whatever time of day you get up that’s the time to have breakfast. Aim to have around 3 meals spread throughout day, maybe with a handful of fruit or veg if you need a snack in between. If an apple or a banana isn’t enough to keep you going until your next meal then it’s probably time to check your meals are well balanced with a variety of foods. Or maybe 4 or 5 smaller meals would suit you better, as long as they are smaller meals.

Give your body what it needs first then you’re less likely to feel peckish or crave the sweet things or snacks. I’m not a big fan of rules, however I do recommend one rule that’s more of a structure for how to put together balanced meals. I call it the ‘rule of 3’ where you basically aim for 3 different types of food at each meal, you can find out more detail on this in my free guide. Eat a range of different nutrients then you’re more likely to feel satisfied.

Here’s how the ‘rule of 3’ works:

When you’re putting together a meal, always start with something starchy like bread, potatoes, rice or other cereal grains – no they’re not bad for you, they give you a nice steady stream of energy and lots of important vitamins! Then have some kind of fruit or veg – go for whatever you like and it doesn’t have to be fresh; tinned, frozen or dried all contribute vitamins & minerals. Then include either something protein-rich like beans/pulses, meat/eggs, or have some kind of dairy food like cheese/yoghurt, fortified soya milk etc.

My favourite part of all this is; give yourself permission to have the treats that you love – it’s OK! You’re allowed to eat cake & chocolate. When you let yourself have what you fancy, you’re less likely to feel guilty & binge! Remember you’re not a bad person because of what you eat. There are NO ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, it’s the overall balance of your whole diet that counts.

Need help to ditch dieting forever? Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily ..? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!

I can help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you can learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.

My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • We made & decorated gingerbread zombies at the weekend – it was Halloween so had to be done! I decided they were best dunked in Earl Grey tea, so mostly been drinking that this week. Although of course I haven’t been having biscuits with EVERY cuppa (apart from on Monday – oops! Lol!)
  • After dipping my toe into the world of acting the other week (check out my last post for more) we didn’t do much over the rest of half term. I was pretty shattered after getting up super early for the two filming days! This week with school starting again, I thought I’d better get moving a bit more, otherwise my back starts to grumble… (I had the hot water bottle on it a few times over the weekend) So my current goal is to exercise at least 3x/week.
  • The twice-daily school run gives me a good bit of exercise & fresh air. Especially as we walk through a little wood over the brook. I’ve decided that most days each week I’m going to walk home the long way through more woodland. Then before I start work I’ve been doing a few stretches and Pilates exercises to balance out all the sitting I do. It’s only been a few days and my muscles hurt enough to show how much I’ve not been using them recently! Oops!
  • On one of my post-school-run walks I saw a load of goldfinches AND a massive flock of long-tailed tits. They’re two of my favourite birds so it really put a smile on my face. THEN I saw a heron in the brook – never seen one in that part of the brook before, so that was pretty exciting!
  • Sorry! No update on the TV programme that I’m in the background of (check out my last post for more). But I can confirm that it’s NOT Bridgerton, which is what most people have been guessing. How amazing would it be if I got to be in that next time?! Fingers crossed!

Do you know someone who needs to hear this message? Please share this post with them, the more people who read it and ditch dieting forever, the better!