It’s no longer cool to say you're on a diet. A diet is something you did in the 80s, right? In recent years the word “diet” has been demonized and the term “healthy lifestyle” has taken its place. Millions have thrown in the towel on quick fixes, diet pills, or gimmicks to lose weight fast. Many people don't want to believe or admit that they're on a diet, but here are five signs your healthy lifestyle might actually be a pseudo-diet:
1. You restrict, limit, eat low-carb foods or count carbs for the purpose of losing weight.
2. You have a regimented eating schedule, or you eat at specific, pre-planned times.
3. You pay penance for eating “bad foods” by skipping meals, or with extra exercise.
4. You pacify your hunger with coffee, tea or diet soda.
5. You've become a vegan or gone gluten free for the purpose of losing weight.
There are many more pseudo-diet behaviors, but these should get you thinking.
In general terms, any type of food restrictions or food rules you impose on yourself for the purpose of losing weight are, in fact, a diet. Intuitive eating, on the other hand, recommends rejecting the diet mentally. The first step is to come to accept that these rules and restrictions simply don’t work. In fact, any kind of food restrictions actually increase cravings and urges for food. Like a cycle, once you can no longer avoid these cravings, you break your set of food rules or food restrictions, your willpower “fails,” and you inevitably binge, overeat or “cheat” (which is a term that's so popular these days).
Before you scoff and say “that’s not me,” consider digging a little deeper and explore your own set of food rules and food restrictions with a journal. You might be surprised to discover that you in fact do have your own set of rules and restrictions that you are adhering to, possibly without even realizing it.
Don’t worry, you're not alone. Most people don’t even realize that they're displaying pseudo-dieting behaviors. In your journal, don’t just write down what you are eating. Reflect on things such as: your hunger, your cravings, how you feel before, during and after meals, your fullness after meals, satisfaction level after meals, why you chose (or didn't choose) to eat certain foods, what emotions surround certain foods, in what situations do you most enjoy eating, and any feelings or thoughts that come up during your reflection.
Fill the pages. You might surprise yourself with what you discover. Then consider rejecting those eating rules and restrictions in favor of listening to your own hunger cues, your own fullness and satisfaction before, during and after eating.