The diet industry have us playing into their hands. Statistics show around 90% of people who follow a diet gain back the weight or more. Yet we keep on paying them to tell us what to do regardless of constantly believing we are failures when we don’t stick to their ideas or keep up their maintenance plans as we go back to ‘normal’ eating. Is it time we stopped to question, why are we eating what someone tells us to? Why are we eating when they tell us to? Why are we not eating when our bodies shows signs of hunger? Have we become so reliant on the diet industry that we need to spend the rest of our lives going back for more? Is it making us happy?
I believe it is time we started separating the rules of dieting from the true facts, stop the diet people from making money from us and start living our lives and choosing what we want to eat . Spend our time and money on something more worthwhile. We are not failures. If this were true then 90% of us ‘dieters’ wouldn’t be failing. The truth is, for the majority of us it is not possible to keep up these obviously incorrect and impossible standards of eating. Perhaps if we took some time studying the facts and what they show we can realize that this 90% of people are in fact the norm and the other 10% are actually quite the exception. Maybe it is time we realized it is not actually possible for most of us to sustain the kind of eating patterns the diet world is suggesting.
‘So what are you saying? Get bigger and bigger, eat whatever I like and forget about it all?’
Lets spend some time here and go back to basics. In ‘old times’ we didn’t follow an eating plan of any kind. As children we ate what our parents served us up and that was learnt from their parents…and so on… we didn’t count calories, add up fats, look at food labels, even if they existed. We chose what we ate. (I may add from much less choice than we have today and that could be one of the reasons why we are a much more obese nation than we were then).
We had less media messages, the average figure was far more curvy than it is today and in my humble opinion more attractive. (Did I say that? boy, how I have changed!) Marilyn Monroe was known as one the most beautiful women in history, but she was a far cry from the skinny models we see in the media today. Now, I could be wrong here but I believe people loved and accepted themselves a whole lot more because they didn’t spend their time comparing the image in the mirror with the one they saw constantly in glossy magazines and TV. Did they have TV in those times?!
And what are the other factors?
There is such a huge variety of food available in our lives. It brings me back to the saying “Meat and two veg”. How often do we actually sit down and eat a good old meal of this? Whenever I go to my parents house for dinner, we sit down to a home cooked dinner, my plate usually consists of a third meat (say chicken) a third potatoes and the rest of the plate would have some vegetables. That is generally what my parents eat most of the time. However, with the introduction of exotic foods and more varied eating, I believe this ideal balance has lost it’s way.
So what is it we have now that they didn’t have then? A car. Buses (all but a few but you were lucky if you lived on a bus route) Telephones and mobile phones, big supermarkets and out of town shopping? Take away delivery? The list is endless…
People walked (or ran when they were running late) to work, school, the shops everyday for their daily bread (my mum walked to the local shop everyday to get dinner for that day) they walked to the telephone box, to the restaurant (take away? ‘In my day we had to go and kill what we had for dinner’ I hear my granddads granddad saying!) .
So, what is the message here? Ditch the diet, relax a little about number crunching and weighing (yourself and food) make your own choices of what you would like to eat but become more mindful about what and why you are eating. Is it simply just available? Are you stressed or hungry? Bored, fed up, or maybe you just want to make yourself feel better…maybe you don’t know how you feel? Maybe you don’t know how to stop yourself? Lets take a look at these emotions in much more detail. Start thinking about how we should be living our lives in this century and taking from technology what tools will help us rather than continuously playing into the hands of the very clever diet industry. We must stop ruining our lives and start living. Learn to like your good bits and accept the not so good bits and concentrate on finding a comfortable weight that you can sustain by being healthy.
Now this is when we can start to enjoy the journey and our lives. Have fun getting to your goals instead of letting someone else make your choices. Put all the energy and time we spend totting up calories and thinking and dreaming about being skinny into:
1) Finding healthy nutritious food that you love!
Our bodies are designed to absorb nutrients from the food and drink we consume but if we don’t put good nutrients in, it can’t absorb them! Think less about ‘low fat’ or ‘diet’ foods or labels of those kind and concentrate on looking for goodness for your body.
Move move and move! It is what our bodies were built to do. We were given muscles and bones to move. A heart to pump blood around our bodies and it is meant to work at all different paces. At a low level for resting and relaxing and faster for the bigger movements our bodies need to make. We were given lungs that were built to inhale huge amounts of air but we can’t fill them up without getting that blood pumping! There is more good news. Whatever level your body is at, you can do this. As long as all your body parts are in the right place and functioning, they don’t need to work that well yet, you can work on that.
Mostly everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. It is time to take responsibility for our own health. You can do this. It may take a little longer to get to our goals this way but when I thought about it I asked myself this: ‘If I have taken 28 years of dieting and I am still not at my ‘goal weight’ then does it matter if trying it this way takes a little while? Can it be any worse of years of failing at dieting to reach an outcome of still being in the same situation?!’
If you are after a quick fix then this process of change is not for you. We have already proven that diets are a quick temporary fix and they haven’t worked long term. One of the messages I got from the diet people is that I needed to start making permanent changes to my food intake and lifestyle. The problem was that they were making me believe that not sticking to their ridiculous and unrealistic rules branded me a failure. We need realistic goals and realistic guidelines of healthy eating, meaning you can enjoy healthy food, make your own choices, sometimes with the use of those ‘higher’ foods that have mostly been forbidden in the diet world but we will learn to use them in moderation. We need to learn how to follow signs your mind and body makes. Mostly we must learn to choose well.
So lets sum all that up. Stop dieting, start living (and loving). Learn the true meaning of enjoying your life and accepting you for you.
The rest will follow.