When it comes to dieting, there seems to be a million and one approaches. Sarah Pound, head nutritionist at 28 by Sam Wood, breaks down the biggest dieting mistakes people make, from unhealthy attitudes to counterintuitive methods.
For as long as we can remember, diets have been a constant presence in our lives. From trendy fad diets to well-intentioned attempts at healthier living, it’s all for the pursuit of an ideal body or health status that has infiltrated our culture for decades.
Yet, as we delve deeper, it becomes evident that this diet-centric mindset, often perpetuated by the media and societal pressures, has very negative consequences. Particularly for women, the impact of diet culture has been profound, fostering unhealthy relationships with food, body image issues, and a never-ending cycle of weight fluctuations.
The truth is diets are neither a healthy nor sustainable solution. So, I’m here to ask the one thing I wish women would stop doing when it comes to diets, is to stop dieting ALL TOGETHER! Here are 6 reasons why.
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#1. Diets set unrealistic expectations
Diets often promise rapid results and portray unrealistic body ideals. This sets the stage for disappointment when the promised quick fixes don’t translate. This cycle of unmet expectations fuels a sense of failure and inadequacy, eroding self-esteem and fostering an unhealthy fixation on achieving an unattainable „perfect“ body.
#2. Diets focus on external validation
Diets tend to place heavy emphasis on external appearance as a measure of success. This focus on validation from others perpetuates the idea that our worth is tied to our body size. Consequently, self-worth becomes intertwined with body image, leading to a constant struggle for acceptance and creating feelings of insecurity, guilt & shame.
#3. Diets create rigid food rules
Diets often come with rigid rules dictating what is „allowed“ and what is „forbidden.“ Such restrictions foster a black-and-white mentality around food choices, causing individuals to label foods as „good“ or „bad.“ This over-simplification leads to guilt and anxiety when deviating from these rules, erasing the joy and spontaneity of eating.
#4. Diets result in negative physical and mental well-being
The cycle of weight loss followed by regain, known as yo-yo dieting, wreaks havoc on both physical and mental well-being. The repeated pattern of restriction and overindulgence not only disrupts metabolism but also fuels a negative feedback loop of body dissatisfaction and emotional distress.
#5. Diets create a disconnection with hunger and fullness
Diets often advocate external cues over internal signals. This disconnects individuals from their natural hunger and fullness cues, leading to mindless eating or ignoring genuine hunger.
#6. Diets have a negative impact on mental health
The relentless pursuit of the ‘ideal’ body and constant worry about food choices can lead to anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia. The obsession with dieting undermines mental well-being, making it difficult to enjoy life fully.
We are worth so much more than what the number on the scale tells us. It’s time for women to steer away from the confinements of diets and embrace a more balanced approach that celebrates all foods.
Opting for moderation means no more rigid rules, no more counting calories, no more guilt-ridden indulgences, and no more unsustainable restrictions. Instead, it’s about developing a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. Moderation allows us to enjoy our favourite treats guilt-free while nourishing ourselves with nutrient-dense choices. It empowers us to listen to our bodies, honour hunger, and fullness cues, and break free from the cycle of emotional eating.
By focusing on overall well-being and cultivating self-acceptance, we pave the way for improved mental and emotional health. When we choose to eliminate diets altogether, we can start to focus on embracing everything in moderation, which fosters body positivity, self-love, and an appreciation for the incredible capabilities of our bodies.