Help! I Hate Dieting, but I also Want to Eat Healthy

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If you're on the go, you can listen to the audio reading of this post by clicking below! 

 

Raise your hand if you hate diets! (I just raised my hand) If you’ve never tried one, don’t start now.

 

A diet is essentially the idea of cutting out any food group for an extended period of time (some people try to do it for life, but it doesn’t always turn out well), or trying to control what, when, or how much you eat.

 

When I say control, I don’t mean choose. I’m talking about ignoring what your body wants  or needs for the sake of what some outside source or “expert” says.

 

Now if you’re someone who has to follow a specific diet for health reasons, and you’re being directed by a nutritionist or dietitian, that’s a different story. At that point it is still your choice to decide what you’ll eat based on how you want to feel, and how you choose to care for your body.

 

But for the sake of this article, I’m referring to the type of diets we follow in order to lose weight. Which we’ve often been told looks like less calories, less fat, less carbs, less...less...less.

 

It also often means sacrificing the foods you love for the sake of being skinny. You know, like that one saying of “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Uhhh...I’m calling BS on that one. I’ve been skinny, and it doesn’t feel any different. How is skinny a feeling anyway? You can feel good at any size. Also, I love food. I also love eating healthy.

 

So I’ve chosen to combine my love for food with my desire to eat healthy.

 

Wanna know how? Here’s a hint...it doesn’t include days and weeks of chicken with brown rice and steamed broccoli. I’m about to get even more edgy on you and tell you that I don’t eat foods if I don’t like them. If I don’t like the taste of a food, I will not eat it. Even if it’s considered “healthy”.

 

Now there are some exceptions to this...there are certain foods that I don’t like prepared certain ways, so I like to experiment and see if there’s a way I can make them taste yummy. For example...steamed broccoli? Heck no. Broccoli tossed in olive oil, seasoned with a garlic based seasoning and roasted in the oven until it’s crispy? That’s a yes for me! Also, broccoli in mac & cheese is pretty dang delicious. I love those Amy’s TV dinners, especially the mac & cheese and broccoli one. All that creamy goodness with a bit of crunch and I’m getting my veggies in??? I’ll take it!

 

There’s a difference between eating to be skinny and eating for your health. Eating to be skinny looks like counting calories and macros, and eating flavorless meals because God forbid you add too much fat in, like olive oil and avocados (theeee best!).

 

Eating for health looks like what I like to call “nutrient-based eating”. This means I just search for foods with the highest amount of nutrients. Not only do these foods tend to taste amaaazing (after you get used to eating more natural foods, of course), but they also satisfy me in a way that doesn’t leave me hunting through the cabinets for more, more, more!

 

I love superfoods for this reason. Sneaking in chia seeds and flax seeds, and loading up my smoothies with maca powder and various superfood powders from Organic Burst

 

I’ll bet that healthy eating is difficult for you because you haven’t found a sustainable and satisfying way. And satisfaction is the key here. If you don’t feel satisfied with what you’re eating, then you’re gonna go for something that does satisfy you.

 

So here’s a place where you can start...ditch the idea that you should count calories, or macros, or leave out any food group (keto much??), and start focusing on getting more nutrients into your daily life.

 

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Here’s a recipe you can start with:

 

  1. Go into the grocery store or your local farmers market, and pick out 3-5 veggies that sound appealing to you. I love potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and garlic.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425º
  3. Chop the veggies, toss them in olive oil or any oil of your choice (coconut oil is also great!), season them with salt and pepper, or turmeric, or cumin, or any seasoning combo that tickles your fancy--get creative on this!
  4. Roast them until they reach the texture of your liking...any range between soft and crispy!

 

Now take this mixture and sneak it into any meals you’re having this week, have it as a side or a snack, or a meal on its own (I love to add in a boiled egg or some hummus for protein).

 

Voila! You’ve just taken your first step toward ditching the diet mentality and eating food that will nourish your body.

 

Now before I let you go, I want to remind you that this doesn’t have to be 100% of the time. You don’t need to designate weekends or “cheat days”, just pay attention to how you’re feeling and what your body is asking for. Let your body lead the way!

 

If you want to learn more about letting your body lead the way into your health, make sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter! You can sign up by snatching any of the freebies available to you throughout my site, and then you’ll be added to my list.

3 Ways to Maximize your Enjoyment of Social Gatherings without Dieting

 

On Halloween, I had my good friend Amber over. We got chips and salsa, bought some candy, I bought myself a donut, and she made a delicious pumpkin coffee cake while I made avocado enchiladas (one of my favorite recipes!)

Our plan for the day was to make some food, watch scary movies, and take my boyfriend's son out for some trick-or-treating.

I was super stoked about our plans, and I looked forward to them for about 3 weeks. We ended up spending most of the time in the kitchen, and I spent most of it mindlessly eating.

By the end of the night, we came back from trick-or-treating to finally have a piece of that pumpkin cake that was calling my name all day. The only problem was that I was stuffed by that point. But guess what? I decided to eat the cake anyway. And that's totally okay. But I did feel sick afterward.

She left, and I started to wonder why I ate so much in the first place. And why I chose to do it so mindlessly. Now, I didn't beat myself up in any way, because I don't believe that is helpful or necessary. But I was genuinely curious...why did I do that?

After some reflection, I realized that I was mindlessly eating because the food was just there. I was just shoving it in my mouth as I was walking around the kitchen and cooking. By the time the enchiladas were ready, I wasn't even hungry. But I ate them anyway. And that led me to eat the cake when I wasn't hungry either.

It's not the amount that I ate that bothers me, it's the fact that I was uncomfortably full and endured heartburn for the rest of the night and the next morning. My blood sugar was also so unstable the next morning that I was hungry every 30 minutes to an hour.

Most of the time, I make a strong effort to listen to my body. My main goal is to feel as good as I can so I can show up in life as my "best self" as often as possible. We all love feeling good, right? Along with that, I really want to make an effort to be as present as possible when spending time with friends and family. If I'm scarfing down food, then I'm not fully present to my friend or the food.


With Thanksgiving coming up soon...I asked myself "how can I make sure I'm enjoying the food and the company as fully as possible?" and I came up with a few answers....



1) Stay present

It's really easy to go into "autopilot" mode. We may choose to be on our phones, zone out, or eat to distract ourselves from what's going on in the room. Then when your company leaves you wonder "how did everything go by so fast?"

Action item: Every once in a while, take three deep, full breaths to bring yourself back into the present. Put away distractions whenever possible, especially when eating. 

Bonus tip: Excuse yourself as needed to complete a 1-2 minute meditation or round of breathing in the bathroom or in a private bedroom


2) Check in with yourself

 

We often forget to make choices based on how our bodies are feeling. We're full, yet we keep eating. We feel drunk, yet we keep drinking. Checking in with yourself allows you to make decisions about food, alcohol and anything else based on how you're currently feeling, and taking into account how you want to feel.

Action item: Every hour or so, take a moment to pause and check in with yourself. Ask yourself "how am I feeling in this moment? Is there anything I need? More water, more food, less food, a hug, a good conversation?" Treat yourself the same way that you would treat a beloved houseguest that you wanted to make as comfortable as possible.

3) Don't put the event or gathering on a pedestal

If we know we have an event or party coming up, we tend to starve ourselves before hand. We want to have "enough room to eat". But when this happens, we often get to the party so hungry that we scarf down food without paying attention, and often end up overeating and feeling uncomfortable afterward.

Action tip: Don't enter with the vacation mentality of "I have to eat all I can while I'm here, because this is a special occasion and I won't get this chance again for a while". If you aren't restricting in your every day life, then you won't feel the need to eat everything in site at a party or on vacation. Treat it like any other day. Eat when you're hungry, and eat what sounds appealing...no matter what that may be. Enjoy the experience, and be as mindful as possible so you won't be hunting for more food after being full because you weren't present for your eating experiences.

Above all...just remember that these aren't new "food rules" to follow, and whether or not you follow these guidelines does not make you "good" or "bad". These are simply guidelines to help you stay in the moment, enjoy social gatherings as much as possible, and leave feeling light and vibrant rather than heavy and worn down. 

Now it's your turn! Create 1 guideline that will help you savor and enjoy any social gathering or event as much as possible. Share it in the comments below!

 

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5 Ways Dieting Backfires

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Dieting in our culture is the norm. It's so normal, in fact, that it's become the focus of summer talk, holiday talk, party talk, and of course many New Year's resolutions. Why do we do it? Because we think we should lose weight! (But that's another conversation). But here's the truth: dieting backfires!

What if we shifted our conversation into the reasons why dieting doesn't work? There are tons of reasons, but I'm going to highlight just a few in this post...

So what are some of the negative effects of dieting? Well, dieting...

1) Slows the rate at which your body burns calories

That's right...your body cannot recognize the difference between dieting and starvation. For that reason, once you begin to minimize your food intake...your body's biological instincts kick in. It then holds on to every possible calorie, and slows down the rate at which it burns those calories.

2) Causes you to crave high-fat foods

Again with those biological instincts...your body is starving, it needs fuel--and fast!! What does it crave? Foods high in fat, high in sugar, anything that will give it an immediate boost in energy. After all, it's only trying to keep you alive and thriving! Deny those cravings? They will only get stronger until you give in, and by then you'll likely be feeling verrry out of control.  

3) Increases your appetite

I bet you've been told time and time again (and also tell yourself) that it's YOUR fault and that you have no control around food. The truth? It is not your fault, and you cannot outsmart your body. Your body was built to literally fight to save your life every day. It will fight much harder than your "willpower" ever could. As I said in points one and two, your appetite is kicked into high gear from the perception of starvation. Think you're doing yourself a favor by denying your hunger? Think again.

4) Reduces your energy levels

Okay, so what immediately accompanies our dieting goals? Exercise goals! But what happens when you're super hungry and not getting adequate calories? You're exhausted! Which means what? You likely won't have the energy to workout. But you force yourself to anyway, and it's painful. No wonder you hate working out!

5) Reduces your ability to feel "hungry" and "full"

This is a big one, and one you'll hear me talk about often. Part of the solution to healing your relationship with food is learning to eat intuitively. A large part of learning to eat intuitively requires you to recognize hunger and fullness cues. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you currently recognize hunger and fullness? How often do you ignore those signals? Probably pretty often, right? Since we've been taught that our bodies are untrustworthy, and some outside source or "health guru" knows better than we do.

For every reason that dieting is encouraged, there is a counterargument. Dieting only backfires, which is great news because you'll never have to suffer through another diet again!  

My goal is to help you see the alternative, and help you understand that you don't have to torture yourself in order to live a healthy, fulfilled life.

So what is the alternative to dieting? Intuitive Eating, getting in touch with your body, Body Kindness, and learning to decipher what it is you're actually craving. When you learn to work with your body...your life, relationships and health will tremendously improve!

Now tell me...has there been a time that dieting has been beneficial or has worked long-term for you? How do your eating behaviors or overall behaviors change while you're restricting food? Comment below, or email me privately at lauren.m.kepler@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!