Life

Restrictions and Dieting – Hell No!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever restricted yourself when eating? Have you tried dieting, a trend or two perhaps? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are so not alone. 

Your body is an amazing instrument that requires fine tuning and conscious care. What are you fueling your body with? That’s right – FUELING. When you truly fuel your body with clean, nutritious, whole foods, the effect is incredible. 

Need Help? Get Support!

This past April, a Holistic Nutritionist that I had been following for some time announced that she was building a community and taking clients and I knew I wanted in on that. I was already plant-based but I wasn’t feeling as optimal as I had been when I first went vegan almost two years prior. I really wanted to get back to that feeling!

Healthy eating is one of the most important things we can do for our overall health. I knew this. What I didn’t realize was how interconnected gut health was to the rest of the body. Take mental health for example, the gut-brain connection is real and how we feel mentally and emotionally can play a big role in how we feel physically – and vice versa. It all leads back to what we fuel ourselves with so that the body and mind can flow and function well. 

If you’re looking for a Holistic Nutritionist, insight on gut health and how to resolve your IBS with the help of plants, or just some great knowledge shared by a passionate Canadian, check out Roslyn Kent and her site plantsfirst.ca.

So, what’s so wrong with dieting?

Well, what comes to mind when you hear that word?

“I wish I could eat that but, I’m on a new diet.”

“I ate like shit all weekend. I’m going to start my diet again on Monday.”

“If I eat really well today, I can go out with my friends tomorrow.” OR “I splurged with my friends, and now I have to eat super well all week to make up for it.” 

Would one bite have killed you? Why not eat with balance so you can just enjoy your life instead of living in this negative cycle every 7 days? If I haven’t said these things out loud, I’ve definitely thought them or at least said them to myself. It’s harmful in ways we don’t even realize until it’s a bigger issue that we need to unravel.

Disordered Eating

Restrictions and dieting can so easily create disordered eating. In a way, they always do. There is no good reason to diet. There is good reason to look at your lifestyle as a whole; what you eat, how you eat, what you do for work, how you live, what you do for play, do you get physical exercise, what your mentality and energy level is like on a day to day. When we look at our lifestyle, we can make adjustments – but rarely do we take the time to look at how we’re living. When we just look at one aspect, say food for example, we’re missing pieces of the puzzle and that is where we run into problems.

I’ve experienced disordered eating, where it creeps in and you don’t realize there’s a problem until you stare at yourself through every reflection silently criticizing your body. Where it becomes about planning out your whole day’s worth of calories over the week because you ate way too much over the weekend. When you want to accomplish a goal or look a certain way, and your world starts to resolve around achieving that goal in an obsessive style. Disordered eating looks different for all of us. If you’re watching the foods you put into your body whether it be based on calories, macros, carbohydrates, fat or sugar content…and you find yourself reading each packaged product label, or using meal replacement and/or protein shakes in place of real meals…than you are restricting your food. You are dieting. 

“But, it’s not a big deal. I try different diets all the time.”

“I’m challenging myself to lose 10lbs this month with my new diet and workout plan.”

“Zero calorie drinks taste better anyways.”

Why these phrases need to stop

These phrases worry me. I’ve heard all of them. Restrictions, dieting, disordered eating – it helps no one, and yet it hurts everyone. You don’t need to be on a diet to be hurt by one. You don’t need to have an eating disorder to feel the pain of what it does to someone you care about. Whether you see it or not, obsessing over food in any capacity, hurts everyone in the room. Others may not have been thinking about it, but now you’ve put it in their head no matter how unintentional. 

“Should I also be watching trying new diets?”

“What are carbs? Why are they so bad? Do I eat too many of them, too?”

Do we have to workout to “work off” a meal? Can we not just work out because it makes us feel good…because we want to? Why do we feel like we need to share that we’re working out to lose weight, to fit into those jeans – all because we “ate too much” over the holiday long weekend? When you share your results and comment on the weight lost, and follow it up by stating that the scale doesn’t matter to you, it proves that you do care. And that’s okay, it’s normal. But, if it really didn’t matter and you really didn’t care, you wouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place. 

Removing the Restrictions

Removing the restrictions we put on ourselves, that society puts on us, when it comes to the way we feed our bodies, is a MUST. The Diet Cycle must end. It’s been a never-ending cycle from the time that smaller bodies were shamed into becoming larger ones, and larger ones now left looking for any and all options to shrink themselves into sizes, that quite frankly don’t reflect your true size, because every brand makes it up to fit them!!

We are so much more than a fad diet, a reflection, a protein-lacking meal. The size of our clothes and our outward appearance hold less value than the media and society want us to believe. What truly matters is our heart, our kindness and compassion towards others; how we treat each other – hell, how we treat ourselves!! The Western world wants us so stressed about absolutely everything that we can’t possibly take the time to think for ourselves. If we do that, we’ll see the truth but if we play ignorance is bliss, they can tell us what to do, who to be and worst of all, how we should look.

I’ll leave you with this…

Eat with Balance. Eat Fresh. Choose Colour. Choose Tasty. Look at The Whole Picture. Find Your Fun. Make Time for You. Your Mental Health Matters – just as much as your physical health I might add.

If you think you may be experiencing disordered eating in any form, this is a great resource to help navigate looking after yourself.

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