In society's quest for the perfect body and optimal health, diets have long been hailed as the answer.
But the truth is that diets fail most people, leaving them feeling frustrated, defeated, and trapped in a cycle of weight gain and weight loss fluctuations.
Additionally, it is important to realise that the word "diet" actually means 'manner of living'. In other words, a diet is a long term lifestyle rather than something temporary - which is the usual narrative pushed by the food and weight loss industries.
Here we reveal four key problems with traditional diets and why it is far better to embrace sustainable eating habits for robust physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
1. Diets Are Restrictive & Unsustainable
Diets typically rely on strict rules, rigid meal plans and deprivation.
While this type of philosophy may yield short-term results, the restrictive nature of diets often leads to feelings of 'going without' which inevitably sets most people up for failure from the beginning.
Due to the underlying restrictions that many diets place on you, they are very difficult to sustain over the long term, which typically causes rebound weight gain and a negative relationship with food.
True wellbeing requires a balanced, enjoyable approach to eating that nourishes both your body and soul, physically and emotionally...and this is something that most diets struggle to provide.
2. One Size Does Not Fit All
These days there are many different diets out there with both confusing and conflicting philosophies. From vegan to vegetarian, keto, paleo, raw food diets and everything in between, every diet has its fans and advocates who claim that their diet is the best.
In reality though, everyone is unique not only in their goals, but also in the way that they respond to certain eating regimes and dietary plans.
For this reason, you should never be pigeon-holed into a methodology of eating without experimenting with how it makes you feel in your physical body and emotionally also.
Everyone's genetic make up, body type and nutritional needs are different, so a one-size-fits-all approach ignores this individuality.
Always remember that what works for one may not work for another. This is why it is so important to experiment with different eating plans to find what works best for you.
If you listen to your body and notice how you feel, you'll become very intuitive about how you react and respond to certain foods. This should be your guide when it comes to finding the right type of eating philosophy for you.
3. Diets Place Too Much Emphasis on External Results
Diets often place an over emphasis on external outcomes, such as weight loss or body composition.
While these goals may seem desirable, they can lead to an unhealthy preoccupation with appearance and self-worth that is tied solely to your physicality.
True wellbeing encompasses more than just the external appearance and should be very much associated with how you feel and also other factors; such as your energy levels, the quality of your digestion, mental focus and sleep patterns.
The food you eat should feel nurturing, nourishing and it should help to cultivate a sense of self-love and acceptance, which is vital to your overall self care and wellbeing.
4. Diets Ignore Root Causes
The other big problem with most diets is that they tend to focus on symptoms rather than the root causes of health issues or weight gain.
Any undesirable outcome you experience in your health physically, can usually in some way be attributed to a poor relationship with food.
This is why if you go on a diet without addressing your underlying habits, belief systems and hangups first, it can be very difficult to achieve the lasting health outcomes you desire.
Some of these factors include, emotional imbalances, stress, depression, trauma, relationship challenges and hormonal imbalances. All of these important aspects contribute to or detract from your overall wellness and should be considered in terms of how they impact your dietary choices.
The good news is, there are many different self care tools you can tap into to help manage these underlying areas. Some of these tools include, being around happy/positive people, practicing your passion, physical exercise, getting into nature and having a clear sense of purpose. Though these elements may seem disconnected from your dietary choices, the truth is that when you begin to feel good within your self and have a high sense of satisfaction and self worth, it can positively impact your relationship with food.
The Main Take Away
Your diet should not be a temporary eating plan associated with any kind of deprivation.
Instead, your diet is meant to be a way of life - a part of your holistic lifestyle that encompasses wholesome daily habits, mental health and your emotional wellbeing.
To break free from the destructive cycle of dieting, focus on an all-round balanced approach to your life. This means a daily commitment to exercise, cultivating healthy relationships, and pursuing projects and activities that give you purpose and make you feel good within yourself.
In other words, nourishing your body with the right foods should be intertwined with nourishing your soul with the right associations, connections and pursuits.
From this place, you will realise that no one particular diet is a solution to anything. Instead, you will be focussed on ALL of the parts that truly contribute to you being the best, healthiest and happiest version of you and you'll develop a wonderful relationship with the food you eat.
Tolman Self Care.