By Peta Coote
As we return to the semblance of some sort of “normality”, I find myself in the middle of many a conversation around dieting with colleagues and friends. Exclamations of “I’m fasting” to slightly louder exclamations of “I’m doing keto” to even louder, if possible “have you heard of this diet? I’m doing that!!” The need for this diet, this time, to be the one that works evident on each and everyone’s face. How about me? What diet am I embarking on this time?
None, I don’t believe in dieting.
I eat intuitively which means I’m mindful when eating noting how hungry and full I am and that I eat what I fancy eating – if I’m a bit peckish and fancy chocolate, I’ll have a cuppa and a few squares of chocolate, placed on a lovely plate, enjoyed for 5 minutes on a break. Yep, even if I’ve not long had lunch. I honour my hunger, I take note and I have to say it feels really good. I haven’t always been like this, I, like pretty much every woman within the western world have dieted, I’ve tried this and that in an attempt to lose weight, I’ve signed up to fitness plans and “wellness journeys”, I’ve put pressure on myself, with food and my weight taking up the most room in my brain. I 100% understand what it’s like to be, almost, in a way, trapped within dieting. I’d like to share with you, what changed my mind on this:
The diet industry really, truly isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Diets are created for us to fail and we’re told that if we just had enough willpower we could lose all of the weight we’ve decided we’d like to lose. But willpower doesn’t really have anything do to with it at all – Traci Mann a scientist and doctor who studies will power and self-control shares in her book Secrets From The Eating Lab that Willpower is a limited resource which is why diets don’t work, we can’t muster up endless amounts of willpower it doesn’t work like that. We are simply not made to willfully resist food.
How has letting go of diet culture and listening to what my body needs and wants instead of what an app or diet (that doesn’t know my body at all) needs and wants, affected me? More to the point have I put on loads of weight?
I have more patience, I’m more energetic, I’m much much much kinder to my body and even those around me. I ask why a lot – Why am I hungry? Why do I fancy that? Why did I eat to soothe stress or upset? I’m less judgemental of myself and others, I feel very neutral about my body, I don’t feel guilty about any food I eat and I have a real love of food and cooking.
Have I put on weight since eating intuitively over the past 5 years? My body found it’s natural happy weight after a while of eating this way and I’ve stayed the same weight ever since – I don’t weigh myself, I don’t even own a set of scales, but I have yearly medical check ups where I’m weighed and it’s bang on every time.
I’m happier, I feel healthier, my wellbeing, both physical and mental is better than it has ever been and I’m so much kinder to myself.
Guest writer: Peta Coote is a certified Eating Psychology Coach and Self-Kindness Coach who helps support people to be kinder to themselves.
Soul Food September:
Throughout September, Soulhub is sharing personal stories from Guest Writers including Nutritionalist (Author of Gut Gastronomy, Broth & Amazing Edible Seeds) Vicki Edgson, Soul Food Live every Tuesday with Carey Davies-Munro, Q&A’s with nutritional specialists Sue Camp & Melinda McDougall, podcasts with Nicola Moore, and education about our relationship with food.
Focused on Food & Mood, Food & Health, Food & Energy and Food & Love – Join us to learn, share and create. Sign up to our soul-newsletter, to get weekly reminders.