By Kelsey Klepper
Why can’t I stick to my diet? I was always blaming myself for “falling off the wagon.” It was always my fault. I told myself that I didn’t have enough willpower, that I wasn’t motivated enough, and that I was a failure. Sound familiar?
I see it all the time on social media platforms. “You have to find your WHY.” Why do you want to change? Why aren’t you making your health a priority over other things in your life? What is going to keep you going on this new “healthy eating” lifestyle, aka a diet? These people and/or companies are guilting us into feeling like our WHY is the problem. According to diet culture, it’s up to you and I on whether or not we’ll fail or succeed at a diet.
My ‘why’ was typically one of the following: to get healthy, to have more energy, to allow less pressure on my knee that I’ve had eight surgeries on, to love myself, to gain confidence, to practice will power and discipline, to be healthy for my future kids, etc. In the end, my ‘why’ was never really about any of those things. I may have had good intentions, but in the end, I thought I could have the above list if I lost weight. It was always rooted in the fact that I equated health to weight and size, and I equated weight to dieting or lack thereof.
I’m about to let you in on the big secret as to why you can’t stick to your diet.
It’s because DIETS DON’T WORK. Period. It’s not you who is failing. Diets fail us. If diets did what they actually claimed, we wouldn’t have a multi-billion-dollar diet industry, and everyone would have thin bodies.
We need to stop letting the diet industry have control over how, what, when, where, and why we eat. When we let our bodies be in control of our eating habits, there is so much freedom. There isn’t restriction, counting, good and bad foods, or guilt around eating. There’s just eating, eating intuitively. Yes, it’s more complicated than that at the beginning. Our brains are saturated in diet culture mentality, but once barriers start to break down, food is food and eating is eating.
When you let go of what diet culture says and let your body be in control, you will start innately choosing foods that make YOU feel good.
Ok, so maybe you’re thinking this whole trusting your body thing to eat sounds too good to be true. Let’s go back to the beginning and remember some important Truths.
God created us. He designed the crazy complexity of our bodies. Can we just sit in that for a moment? It is seriously mind blowing when I really sit and think about this. He created every little function of our bodies, including the many signals your body communicates to know when/what/where/why/how much to eat. (Genesis 2:7, 22)
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:12-13
Your body was created so intricately that it cues you when you are hungry and when you are full. It desires food because you literally need it to survive. If we didn’t desire food, why would most of us eat? Your body was designed to have cravings and when we don’t satisfy those cravings and restrict, our body wants them even more. Your body slows its metabolism when you restrict your intake because it was designed to help get through a time of famine. These are just a few of the incredible things that God designed our bodies to do.
Our body is designed to regulate its temperature, respond to stress, and all the other things we take for granted on a daily basis, but we never put eating into this category. Our minds are so twisted around diet culture that it’s no longer second nature to us to just eat intuitively. God’s design for eating is not being used. We are trying to use rules and diets to manipulate what God has already perfectly designed. We can’t stick to our diets because God never intended for us to be on one.
We were not born to fear food, to live in restriction, to count calories or even constantly be thinking about our next meal. We learned these behaviors, and we can unlearn them. It’s not easy, change never is. But is it worth it? Always. Freedom is always worth the struggle that comes with change.
If you’re interested in more information on intuitive eating (IE) and why diets don’t work, here are some resources I find helpful. There are so many who provide accurate IE info, but beware that the diet industry is now just trying to make IE another trendy diet by manipulating what it really is. Check who you’re getting your info from.
- RD Real Talk Podcast – Podcast series on intuitive eating started on January 2, 2018
- @thetasteof.freedom (shameless plug)
- Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
- http://nedic.ca/blog/trust-your-body-forget-about-dieting from Linda Bacon (Health at Every Size)