What Does Weight Look Like if We Ditch Diets?

A woman washing asparagus in a sink with running water. There is potatoes, lettuce and other vegestables on the bench next to the woman who is wearing a white t-shirt

 

I can guarantee we all know someone who is the quickest to jump on the latest diet trend, whether it be paleo, keto, gluten-free, sugar-free you name it. The thing is though we all kind of know dieting doesn’t work.

Sure, we may lose some weight in the short term, but then we find our weight starts to creep up again, and we end up heavier than what we were initially.

This is what leads to diet cycling. As we find one diet doesn’t work so we jump to a different diet to lose weight.

Dieting often attaches these set rules around what we can and can’t eat and we find after clients have experienced multiple cycles of dieting their diet is very restricted or perhaps, they experience periods of binge eating on their “forbidden foods.”

What happens if we allow ourselves to have all food? Will I still be able to lose weight? The short answer is yes!

Let’s start at the basics

We have 5 food groups: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and meat/meat alternatives. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we should aim to eat a variety of these daily.

Fruit, vegetables, and whole grains are great sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium.

They maintain a healthy gut microbiome and are protective against many chronic diseases, cancers and are important in keeping the bowels regular.

Dairy and meat for example are excellent sources of protein for muscle preservation and providing fullness, in addition to important nutrients such as iron and vitamin b12.

Then we have what I call the ‘soul foods.’ These foods we don’t need to keep bodily processes working effectively as they don’t provide much nutritional value. BUT perhaps some chocolate cake with your girlfriends for morning tea makes your soul happy.

So how do we get this balance?

There are two important things here, mindful eating and intuitive eating. Now, what does this mean?

Mindful eating is not a diet. Being mindful is about focussing your attention and awareness on the present moment to help disconnect from habitual, unsatisfying, and harmful habits and behaviours.

It is the opposite of what many of us do, eating in front of the tv, eating at our desks whilst working. All of which are not helpful behaviours. This is a common response to external cues; aiming to relieve discomfort, boredom and eating out of habit rather than in response to hunger.

Mindful eating involves:

  • Being aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities of food preparation and consumption.
  • Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing and nourishing to the body by using your senses to explore, savour and taste.
  • Acknowledging responses to food without judgement.
  • Being aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide decisions to start and stop eating.
  • Identifying personal triggers for mindless eating whether they are emotions, social pressures or certain foods.

We find that once we dissociate between “allowed” and “forbidden” foods, but rather all foods are allowed. We don’t get these urges of wanting to ‘pig out’ or binge eat.

This method is useful in controlling overeating and improving your relationship with food and it helps you feel more in touch with your body’s cues. This is intuitive eating.

Some intuitive eating techniques to get you started;

  1. Before eating, tune into your body and ask are you “truly hungry?”
  2. Eat away from distractions- turn the tv off, put your phone or laptop away.
  3. Eat slowly and chew your food well, chewing food at least 20 times before swallowing.
  4. Pay attention to the taste, texture, smell, look and sound of the food you are eating.

You may experience times where you know you aren’t hungry but the desire to eat is still there. During these moments have a think about what else you might be feeling during that time.. are you bored, stressed, anxious or exhausted after a long day at work?

It’s natural to turn to food, as eating is a pleasurable experience. Instead, experiment with different activities that will give you a similar sense of comfort such as taking a hot shower and reading a book with a nice cup of tea, calling a friend or family member, taking the dog for a walk in the fresh air.

Find what works for you!

If you or someone you know may need help with managing their Diabetes get in contact with your local Sports & Spinal clinic today and book your next appointment with our Dietitian team!💙

Written By, Dietitian (APD) Rachael Gilholm