Most of us have been there… immediately postpartum and feeling like we’re just so ready for our bodies to be back, whatever that means. We feel as though we’ve spent the last 9 months being patient as our waistlines changes, boobs engorged, ankles swelled… gosh, pregnancy is glam, no? Anyway, we know it’s tempting to start cutting calories and fat grams after having a baby to lose the pregnancy pounds but we’re here to put a stop to all that nonsense and tell you why dieting doesn’t work.
Dieting is Always Mental Restriction
When you cut calories or food groups (meaning your mentality is: I’m avoiding dairy until I drop these last few pounds or I’m cutting carbs to lose weight or I ate bad food yesterday so I’m eating clean today or I can’t believe I ate that much, I’m going to eat light for a few days to make up for it) you’re restricting yourself not just physically (through food) but mentally as well.
Mental Restriction is why dieting doesn’t work. Sure, you can lose weight in the short term through a cleanse or juice fast or carb cutting or paleo or clean eating or whatever but in the long-run, if we’re talking for the rest of your life living in a healthy, happy body, it just doesn’t work. Dieting doesn’t work!
Why does mental restriction cause you to fail on your diet? Mental restriction is incredibly stressful for your brain. Lots of stress on the brain equals… well… increase in cortisol (the stress hormone), binge eating behavior, lack of motivation to exercise, and low levels of self-care and satisfaction.
Absolutely none of that leads to sustainable weight loss or a happy, healthy body.
So, if dieting doesn’t work, what does?
Well, that would depend on your overall goal.
For us, striving to have a happy, healthy, balanced life and body is the way to go. How does one get there, you ask?
This means no talk of “good foods” versus “bad foods”, no guilt over eating something pleasurable and sweet, eating any and all food groups, not counting bites/calories/grams/pounds, and not feeling stressed about food or your eating habits.
Listen to Your Body
- Notice hunger and the urge to eat before you’re actually eating.
- Take a moment to listen to your body to understand what fuel it’s looking for.
- If you’re wanting food but aren’t necessarily physically hungry, acknowledge the urge to reach for food and ask if it’s really what you want. Still want food? Enjoy every bite. Want something else to soothe yourself? Partake in some great self-care in the form of a hot shower, some sunshine, a deep breath, or a mini dance party in the kitchen.
- If you’re physically hungry, ask yourself what food would best fuel your body and go for it without judgment.
Want even more tips on intuitive eating? We recommend you checkout our friends at Be Nourished.
A Healthy Lifestyle Does Work
The thing is, a healthy lifestyle is different for every one of us. For Jen, it means red nail polish, homemade meals, hot bubble baths and long walks around the lake. For Amanda, it’s weekly yoga and dance classes, walks alone with the dog, a candle on her night table lit before bedtime every night and lots of funny movies.
Truthfully, the journey to health and happiness is only a little bit about food – another reason why dieting simply doesn’t work. If you want to live in a body that’s strong and healthy, you need to treat it in a loving, kind way, respecting that it needs both food and freedom in order to thrive.
In need of more self-care suggestions? Checkout our article that includes 20 suggestions here.
Care to share? What’s something you’re doing to contribute to your own health and happiness? Share within the comments below!
Want to start loving your body from stretchmark to scar and living a fuller life? Pick up our book, The Peachie Moms Guide to Body Love for Moms, today!