Fitness, Life, Nutrition, Wellness

What Letting go of Dieting Has Taught Me

DIET. That one word we are all so familiar with, and one that the majority of us probably tried and then failed.

I have grown to hate that word. Keto, Atkins, mediterranean, paleo, juice cleanses, raw food diets, intermittent fasting and MANY more are all forms of dieting. Call it what you want but if you are following some sort of strict plan to lose weight, cutting out certain foods or food groups for fear of gaining weight… thats a diet.

Dieting, restricting, obsessing over body image and weight has been apart of me since I was like 12 – 14 ish. I was always an active kid (hockey, gymnastics, soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and field, etc.,) and was always built more muscular. I constantly compared myself to girls who had tiny legs, small arms and wished I looked that way. Diet culture told me that in order to be pretty, popular, and feel good I had to look like them.

Being 24 and turning 25 this year, diet mentality has still followed me. Every decision I make regarding food or exercising revolves around the question “will this make me skinny or make me gain weight.” I would think about it all. day. long.

About two weeks ago now I just came to a complete breaking point. I was so fucking tired of crying to Matthew about how much I hated my body or how guilty I felt if I ate something after 8 pm. I was tired of obsessing all day long, thinking about it constantly and just feeling miserable. It was consuming my entire life and has been for over 10 years and I didn’t want to struggle anymore.

I told myself I just would not let weight and food and dieting control my life anymore. Life is too short and I seriously asked myself “is this really how you want to live your life and do you want to be doing this when you have kids, possible a daughter who will be looking up to me?” I would NEVER want this for my future children. So I took a deep breath decided to let it all go.

This massive weight that lifted off my shoulders was incredible and I have felt SO free ever since. I have been striving for this since I was 12 but I never realized it was my choice and in my own hands this whole damn time.

What letting go of Dieting has Taught me

It is okay to eat

Honestly it is. And this is probably the MOST important lesson I learned and I hope that it teaches you the same.

Why do we fear food? Like honestly why? It’s delicious, gives us nutrients, energy, everything we need to LIVE. Food is social, brings people together and again, is delicious. Diet culture has taught us to fear it, tell ourselves no and categorize it into “good” and “bad.”

You are not a bad person for eating food, it is NOT the enemy. Diet culture is, and what we tell ourselves surrounding food is the problem.

I used to beat myself up and judge myself if I ate too much smart pop, some chips, too much pizza or if I ate dessert on top of pizza. Food is safe and so are you I promise. Allow yourself to eat it and if you start to judge yourself, recognize it and choose to let it go. Choose to not let it bother you and you will slowly repair your relationship with food and begin to feel less stressed around it. Your body does not work well on stress so it will thank you 🙂

Just because someone is thin, does not equal health

We need to stop judging others health based on what their body looks like period.

Someone in a thinner body could be struggling with diabetes, heart issues, mental health problems (anxiety, depression, anorexia, bulimia), someone in a larger body could be perfectly healthy, happy and take great care of themselves. Or the opposite! You do not know the status of someone else’s health is so why judge and make assumptions?

For example, at my thinnest I was battling mental health issues and was extremely depressed and unhappy with myself. Which just proves my point. And I would get comments like “omg you look amazing!” Like gee thanks I’m drowning on the inside but I guess I look good.

Currently, I do not weigh myself because it does not matter. I feel good, I’m at a good place mentally, I eat good and I don’t obsess over food and my workouts have been killer. My last check up at the doctor was like a month ago and everything was great. So does the scale matter? NO.

STOP COMMENTING ON OTHER PEOPLES BODIES.

Dieting is not worth my mental health

I think we all need to ask ourselves if being on a diet and being at war with yourself constantly is worth your mental health.

For me it is absolutely not. Since I let go of dieting I feel like I can actually focus my attention and energy on what really matters. My mind is more clear because my thoughts don’t revolve around food or weight and I’m not judging myself every time I eat or skip the gym.

My moods were so up and down like I said before I would cry to Matthew about it a lot. No matter how many times he would tell me how beautiful I am and that I’m good enough, it just wouldn’t sick in. I didn’t believe him.

Try becoming more aware of the thoughts you have. Which ones are negative and which ones are positive? Practice letting them go or not taking them seriously. This takes away the power they have on you. Believe it or not you have the power to choose which ones you believe and which ones you can let go.

How to trust my body

When you were little, you knew when you were hungry, what you wanted to eat and how much. You ate when you were hungry and stopped when your stomach was full. That is the definition of intuitive eating and that is our natural instincts. We didn’t fear food, we didn’t worry about whether it would make us fat or not, we just ate what our bodies wanted. We TRUSTED, and LISTENED to our bodies.

What stopped this? Diet culture.

We grow up, and see societies standards which are thin, beautifully photoshopped people with perfect bodies, and think holy crap I don’t look like that but I NEED too!

So we stop trusting our bodies. We start fearing food and stop listening to our natural hunger and fullness signals. We reject our bodies natural place, and constantly fight against it until we achieve that UNREALISTIC goal weight. Which can develop into life long up and down dieting, eating disorders, orthorexia, and stress.

Once you let go of dieting, you will go back to the place of just listening and trusting your body. I have been eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. And no I haven’t been going crazy eating all the ice cream and pizza and chocolate in the world just because I am not on a diet. Which I feel most people think that is whats going to happen.

Thats not the case. The reason for bingeing is because your restricting. When you give yourself FULL permission to eat and have food freedom, you will eat foods that make you feel good and that taste good. You won’t feel any pressure or guilt or stress that lead to the binge-restrict cycle.

I fell back in love with food

My creativity and my curiousness about all kinds of food has returned since letting go of dieting. And I just generally fell back in love with real food and cooking and what made me fall in love with food and nutrition in the first place.

I look at food as it is. Whether its more nutrient dense or more calorically dense, sweet and sour, spicy, salty, I just see it as it is. I’m not labelling it as good or bad or unhealthy. Because thats what food is, its just food and it should never be feared or surrounded by guilt.

My life is opened up since I decided to not let dieting effect me any more. I know my worth is SO much more then just a number on the scale or the size of my body.

As long as I am taking good care of myself and my mental health is where it should be, I will not let weight or dieting affect my life.

And either should you.

xo

Raquel

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