6 Steps To Break The Dieting Cycle
When I was in my early twenties I had a horrible relationship with my body, food and training. My actions and my disordered eating habits stemmed from low self-esteem, self-worth and the need of being loved and appreciated.
“I suffered from low self-esteem and I expressed my psychological issues through obsessive nutrition and training habits.”
After undergoing therapy I was able to break free from some of the obsessive behaviour and depression, however, the low self-esteem lasted for years to come. When I was a few months from turning 30 I decided to compete in natural bodybuilding and in hindsight I guess I used it as an excuse to go back to my obsessive behaviour and the fear of certain foods also resurfaced.
Although I look back at that period with joy, I have learned a few things over the last few years and I guess the main turning point was when I discovered Flexible Dieting. I am no longer obsessing over training, I am no longer obsessing over burning as many calories as possible during my cardio sessions and I am no longer fearing foods or feeling guilty.
I have finally been able to break free from the ‘prison’ of my disordered eating and training habits.
The reason why I am sharing this with you is because I’d like for you to break free as well. I want you to break free so you too can hopefully live a happier and healthier life. For me, breaking the dieting cycle begins with the following 6 steps:
1. Respect and love your body
This is something that a lot of people struggle with, but self-acceptance is probably one of the most important things you need to learn if you want to break free. Accept your body, 'flaws' and all, accept your genetics and treat your body with respect and love. Stop torturing your body with fad diets, cleanses, detox teas and potions.
Respect your body by providing it with nutrient-dense foods to nourish it.
2. Eat for health and wellbeing
Stop the fad diets, stop the restriction and stop the torture.
Eat for health and wellbeing, and start providing your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. By providing your body with nutrient-dense foods you will find that both your energy levels and daily vitality will improve.
Also, make sure to enjoy treats in moderation and start to appreciate and enjoy life. Life is meant to be lived and you are meant to enjoy your time on earth.
3. Stop labelling foods
This is really important too. We often tend to label food as ‘good’, ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’, but what happens when we eat foods that are ‘bad’, ‘dirty’ or ‘unhealthy’?
This often triggers an emotional response, we start feeling dirty on the inside, we experience feelings of guilt, anxiety and stress. We feel bad as our willpower was ‘weak’ and we feel like we are a ‘bad person’. By seeing the food for what it is and learning the principles of Flexible Dieting, you will learn that no foods are off limits and you will no longer feel guilty for enjoying a particular food.
All foods can be included in moderation, even when you are trying to lose weight.
4. Don’t use food as a ‘fix’
Whether it is for anger, sadness, anxiety, boredom or even loneliness, a lot of people tend to use food as a 'fix'.
What’s important to realise is that although you may feel better momentarily, food won’t fix the emotions and won’t solve problems.
Feelings are normal and are a normal part of life, but what’s important is that you find ways to deal with these feelings without using food. If you feel as if you can’t do this on your own, I’d strongly encourage you to go and talk to someone.
5. Focus on performance and health
Start a strength-training program and focus on getting stronger!
There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to lift heavier. Do something that is fun rather than something you have to do and don’t enjoy.
Any form of physical activity is better than none.
If you enjoy stand-up paddleboarding, do it. Make sure that your training program focuses on improving your health rather than exercising for weight loss.
6. Talk to someone
Support from family and friends is really important, however, sometimes things can become very overwhelming. Although you have a supportive environment you might not be able to break free from the dieting cycle. If you feel like you need help, don’t be afraid of reaching out and talk to a professional. There are counsellors that specialise in the field and they will be able to help you.
These are my 6 top tips on how to break free and live a happier and healthier life. I hope they will help you achieve dietary freedom, just like they did for me.
If you would like to learn more about Flexible Dieting and how to eat for health and well-being don’t hesitate to contact us at Flex Success!
Diet Smart. Not Hard.