There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to feel fit and healthy so you can live a long life. Eating nutrient dense foods that fuel your daily life is very important and you’ve got to take care of yourself.
Though sometimes diets can go too far. With constant bombardment of diet trends, magazines with extreme promises (“Lose 15 Pounds in 7 Days!”) and the flood of health and fitness gurus on social media it is almost impossible not to have the urge to be on a diet.
Here are five signs that can help you decide if you need a break from dieting (this excludes people who are on diets due to health conditions and doctor recommendations):
1. You're missing out on fun stuff.
Ten years from now, when you are reflecting on this period of your life, will you want to look back and see that your diet controlled your actions? Or that it caused you to miss out on exciting events?
Road trips, girl’s nights, birthday parties and dinner dates are all parts of life. When these events come up, and your initial thought is, “There’s going to be food there that will tempt me to go off my diet! I’d rather stay home so I don’t have to worry!” then it may be time to break up with your diet.
2. You’re consumed with thoughts about food.
Diets often have strict rules. These rules may lead you to constant thoughts about what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Enjoying life in the moment is so important, but can’t be done if there’s continual diet anxiety. If you’re sitting at work overwhelmed with what you’ve eaten and how much you have left to eat, or find yourself tuning out loved ones because you’re worried about whether or not you’ve followed the diet’s rules that day, that's a bad sign. Take a few days to be more conscious of this behavior, if its persistent, you might want to reevaluate things.
3. Your weight keeps yo-yoing.
Not everyone goes on a diet to lose weight; diets may be prescribed due to health conditions. That’s completely different than dieting to “lose the last 10 pounds.”
Your weight fluctuations can damage your metabolism and cause severe stress to the rest of your body. If you find yourself yo-yoing between five to twenty pounds every couple of months then the diet may not be realistic for you.
4. You constantly bash your body.
Have you lost weight while dieting, but continue to hate on your body anyway? This may be a sign that no diet is going to help you love your body. You need to work on appreciating and respecting your body, because no diet or amount of weight loss will be “enough” otherwise.
Beating yourself up over how you look will only cause you to feel uncomfortable in your skin (no matter what weight or size you are). You should shift your focus from dieting, to learning to love your body the way it is.
5. You can’t picture yourself eating this way in five years.
Look ahead five years from now. Will you be able to sustain these eating habits? Is your diet realistic for the rest of your life? If your answers are no, then it may be time to discover what is manageable for you. There's no reason you have to eat like this now if it doesn’t truly make sense for you long term.
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