Wait hold up….
You can eat and live a healthy lifestyle without being on a diet?
ABSOLUTELY YOU CAN.
You can absolutely take care of yourself, eat healthy, adopt healthy habits that make you thrive and feel good without being on a restrictive diet. And I am about to break down the difference.
I feel like there is so much grey area when it comes to dieting and eating healthy. Like when I post on my instagram about healthy tips or healthy recipes I make, I feel like I have to explain myself that I’m eating this way because I generally enjoy too and not promoting a diet or saying its better to eat healthy then “unhealthy.”
But then I think wait no.. because food freedom and intuitive eating are about eating whatever you want to eat without having to explain yourself or feel guilt. And just because I practice food freedom does not mean I eat whatever is in sight and throw my health out the window. You don’t have to justify or explain yourself surrounding food EVER.
So what is the difference between adopting healthy habits and when it becomes a diet?
Dieting is restrictive and limiting
Any diet whether it claims to be “sustainable” or a “lifestyle change” that has a set of rules that you have to follow is a diet. No matter what kind of fancy label diet culture slaps on it.
Diets focus on what you can and can’t have and tells you which foods are safe or good, and which ones are bad. They tell you to enjoy certain foods, limit certain foods and say no to certain foods. It will completely limit you in what you can enjoy and most likely cause anxiety around food if you are out with friends, at a restaurant, sporting event, or any place that requires eating out.
In addition to that, most diets allow you to have one cheat meal a week where you can have whatever you like (pizza, donuts, poutine, etc.,). Cheat meals define foods that are more calorically dense and have less nutritional value which just puts in your brain that these foods are not allowed any other day of the week. And if you eat them when it’s not a cheat day, what do you think you are going to feel? GUILTY. Which reinforces an unhealthy relationship with food.
Cheat meals are something I find so ridiculous because it puts really good food in a bad category. If your craving poutine on a Wednesday at lunch time you have to tell yourself no and restrict because its not your day to have a “cheat” meal. You are allowed to eat whatever food you want at any point of the day or week. Its food… you’re not committing a damn crime people.
Adopting healthy behaviours are freeing
When you are choosing healthy habits and behaviours because you love yourself, you respect your body and you want the best for it… that is liberating. You are adding things to your life not restricting them and you can live life, go to restaurants, go camping, wherever, without the stress and guilt about what you’re going to be eating. You aren’t limited.
Once your focus is off of weight loss you can focus on things and eat foods that you generally enjoy and make you feel good. I have seen people on diets that will eat egg whites and stevia for breakfast, chicken and rice every meal, slamming 0 cal energy drinks and diet sodas, awful tasting protein bars just to have visible abs or a lean physique. If this is what makes you happy then do it but for me dieting has always made me miserable, made me feel so disconnected with my body and my mind and made me resent food.
Simply eating healthily, enjoying natural, nutrient dense foods because you love how that food tastes and eating until your satisfied is so much more then a diet. Your more connected to food and within yourself, your enjoying each bite not choking it down because its going to get you to your weight loss goal. Your eating out of pure love for yourself and if you want some pizza you can have that too! You don’t need to wait for a cheat day to do it.
I do not follow any rules when it comes to my eating anymore and I can honestly say, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I don’t count calories, weigh myself or restrict. I eat foods I enjoy which includes ALL foods (I am not at all picky). I ate poutine for breakfast yesterday because I was hungover lol and today I ate a big breakfast now enjoying a salad and making fish for dinner.
Our bodies are not meant to be on a diet, but we are meant to nourish our bodies with proper nutrition and ENJOY life eating guilt/stress free.
I hope this helps you guys in differentiating between eating healthy and being on a diet. Putting an end to dieting does not mean your health goes out the window and you forget what a vegetable is. You can definitely be a healthier AND happier person when you put diet mentality to rest.
If you have any other questions regarding this, feel free to DM me on insta, respond to this post or FB message me! Im always here to help.