There is a huge but largely unknown difference between the lives of people who choose to diet to lose weight and people who lose weight by eating in tune with their body’s signals.
This difference is something that most people who want to lose weight never think about. It’s something that the people I call “diet-thin” are completely unaware of. It’s not on any dieter’s radar. It’s rarely a goal of anyone.
It is the Land of Peaceful Eating - a place where you can have a peaceful coexistence with food and eating. Stay with me here. I’ll tell you what that’s like in a bit. But since I didn’t even know this place existed until I got there, let me first tell you what my journey was like.
During all of those years (decades!) when I was dieting to lose weight, all I ever thought about was being thinner. When I thought about what being thinner meant, it always had to do with how I looked.
If I lost weight, I could wear certain clothes that I was unwilling to wear while overweight. Various guys who weren’t attracted to me would be. Things like that.
The fact is that I had a great wardrobe that reflected my personality and I could have worn whatever I wanted. A lot of men found me attractive and sexy anyway.
I thought about things like how I could manage to stay on my diet long enough to lose weight. I frankly suck at structure, so going on some restrictive regimen did not suit my personality very well!
A couple of times, I got pretty close to my goal, though. I was looking and feeling great. Because my diet (or any diet, really) was not sustainable over the long term, I went back to eating the way I always had. And guess what? The weight returned. And I kept gaining more weight.
Because my goal was always the number of pounds I wanted to lose, whether it was 20, 30, 50 or 60, I had no idea that losing weight without dieting offered this amazingly wonderful gift of having a peaceful relationship with food.
Diet-thin people, that small group who manage to keep their weight within a healthy range by going on and off diets, never touch that peace. Sadly, dieting prevents them from ever getting to this place of peace because it is inconsistent with the diet mentality.
I’ll give you an example of how this works with diet-thin people.
Emma is fat phobic. She’s good at structure and controlling what she eats much of the time, so for most of her life, she’s managed to keep her weight within a healthy range by living on the diet hamster wheel. She gains 10 pounds, goes on a diet, loses the weight, then goes back to overeating and gains the weight back.
The problem is that as a chronic dieter, Emma doesn’t listen to her body’s signals or even know how. She eats lunch because it is noon. She eats everything on her plate because she was taught not to waste food. So she dumps the extra food in her body instead of the trash can.
Because Emma deprives herself of foods she loves, she sometimes can’t control herself around them. Like when she visits someone who is a good baker, she eats cookies as soon as she gets there, even if she’s come for lunch.
Because she sees the world from a place of scarcity, she overeats when food is free or when she’s paid for it at a restaurant. She gains weight, then she goes on another diet.
So even if someone like Emma does manage to stay within that healthy weight range, she never finds peace with food. There are always foods she can’t trust herself around and she can’t keep in her house. She makes choices of what to eat, not based on what her body needs, but on what she “should” or “shouldn’t” eat. But she doesn't have to live like that to keep her weight down!
So back to my promise to tell you what it’s like in the Land of Peaceful Eating. I arrived there a few years ago, and it is definitely one of the two best things that happened on my weight loss journey. Better than dropping a few clothing sizes. (I’ll tell you about the other one in a future post.)
Being here means I can have my favorite foods in the house and not feel tempted to eat them when I’m not hungry.
It means I can go to a great restaurant and stop eating before I feel uncomfortably full and not feel compelled to eat everything on my plate. I can take food home and enjoy the leftovers the next day.
It means not obsessing and wasting my time thinking about what foods I can eat and what foods I “shouldn’t.” It means I can eat anything my body wants to eat when I am hungry without thinking about how many calories or carbs are in it.
It means that I can eat what I love without overeating or even wanting to overeat!
That’s what you get when you lose weight by listening to your body, eating only when you are hungry and stopping when you’re lightly full. That’s what happens when you leave the diet mentality of scarcity behind and look at the world from a place of abundance.
It’s the very bearable lightness of eating! Are you ready to go to that place? Click here to learn how we can work together so that you can have a peaceful relationship with food and eating, too!
All so true, Shari. And on a day when I was tempted to find another diet when I know diets don’t work. Need to listen to my body….
It really is about making a big change in how and why we eat more than what (although making mostly healthy choices is important). So glad you’ve joined the facebook group. I hope you find it helpful. Let me know what I can do to help, too.