A question I ask people when they consult me on how not to diet is: What does food mean to you?
The reason why I ask is that people who fall into the dieting trap can be so out of touch with why we eat in the first place.
For me, food has taken on a whole new meaning since I found out how to control my weight without dieting. I do not pretend to know all the answers; if I did, I would be a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize.
But I believe that I am a good way there, even though I’m still learning and finding out what my body needs. Just recently I have also been finding out what my soul needs.
The older we get, the more difficult it can be to control weight, because that is nature. There are many tools out there for healing and cleansing, such as Shamanism, EFT, Astrology, Oils and so on, but I believe that when we ask the Universe for healing or anything else, it sends something our way that resonates. It can be any of the above, or something else. They are tools, and only tools, but it is our core belief system that does the work.
It is just the same with food. If, like me and many others who are caught in the Diet Trap you believe that you can lose weight just by reducing food alone, then you won’t get very far. I know, because I constantly dieted for forty-five years and I feared food. Indeed, to be honest, I only realised how much in the last few months. And what a waste of my time and energy, because I am the same weight now as I was when I went on my first diet at age nineteen.
What we eat ensures how healthy we are, but dieting draws you into a trap with food, and you lose touch with what it is for: is it fattening or not?
We need to eat wisely, but no food guarantees anything. Eating healthily, however, will support your body and give it a better chance of staying vibrant through any adversity, whether that is illness or a tough walk along a mountain track.
What, and how much I ate became my daily diet. How many calories? (a myth), Low Fat (another myth), High Protein and Low Fat together, Low Carbohydrate and High Fat, (true but that’s another trap you can fall into).
Then there was the Mayo diet, ten eggs a day and nothing else, Atkins, The Peanut and Orange Diet (promoted by Outspan oranges and Judith Chalmers). Then there were the slimming club diets by Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Slimming Magazine, The Beverly Hills, and so on.
I became a club leader for Slimming Magazine until I realised that I was starving myself. Their diets were too restrictive, and I had to cut to 900 calories because their diet did not work for me. Even so, they did a feature on me in the magazine.
Things changed for me seven years ago, when I came across a book by Zoe Harcombe, called The Obesity Epidemic and another one by Gary Taubes in a similar vein.
They showed evidence that counting calories does not work, and dieting certainly does not. However, although Zoe was up to the job and I was a great fan of hers, there were still rules to be followed with the diet that she suggested. Even if I lost weight short term it quickly went up again. I began to question whether my body holding was onto fat for its own reasons.
When we diet, the body thinks there is a famine. So it holds onto every last ounce by lowering the metabolism and making us tired and sedentary, and it’s doing this for our protection.
Obese people are not lazy and do not eat any more than other people. So-called authorities and diet promoters have succeeded in making society believe that people who hold onto their fat are not following the rules like the rest of society! Ask your thin friend if she follows any rules about eating: does she beat herself up if she eats cake?
We dieters are the ones that are careful about what we put into our bodies, but put on weight at the very sight of a cream cake. And we are the ones who restrict ourselves and follow the rules.
The way not to diet, is to stop following other people’s rules! Design your own way of eating to find how you can feel satisfied, learn to listen to your body and stop when your tummy says it is full. Before now I would wait until my stomach was distended and I was stuffed, then start to accuse myself of being out of control. That would be the signal to cut down, cut out and starve to make up for breaking the rules.
I built up a strange habit when I found a new diet: I would buy the book, stock the cupboards with the food on the list. And then spend the day before starting the diet bingeing as if there was no tomorrow. “Live for today for tomorrow I ‘diet!’”
So, if dieting doesn’t work what is the answer? How do I not diet?
Firstly, be aware. Be aware of how much your body and mind must work together. Be aware of why you are eating and whether you are full.
Secondly, learn to eat what suits you, which is not something that you will do overnight. It has taken me many years of trial and error. But if you are aware, you can do it a lot quicker than I did. I did not have the advantage of reading blogs like this!
Thirdly, surrender to the Universe and trust your heart. Be grateful to your body for serving you.
Ask for healing and use the wisdom of your soul. Use the tools which I spoke about in the beginning if you think they will help. My tool is meditation and changing my thinking for everything, not just for food.
I hope that you find this article helpful. I wish I could have read it long ago, but then perhaps without the wisdom of years, I would probably have wondered what on earth I was talking about!
Patricia has written three books on the subject of dieting, including Design Your Own Diet, available HERE
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