Do you always feel like you’re hopping from diet to diet, never achieving the results you want? Maybe it’s not the diet—maybe it’s you. For some people, the latest diet isn’t the be all end all. Maybe you’d be much happier (and healthier) by freeing yourself from the concept of dieting. If this sounds like you, keep reading for seven ways to get out of the diet mentality and start living.
1. Practice Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is the practice of eating what your body wants. Are you eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning because you want to? Or because you’re ‘supposed to’? If you genuinely enjoy eating oatmeal in the morning, that’s great. But if you’d prefer eggs and toast or a bowl of cereal, listen to that cue and figure out what your body is trying to tell you instead.
2. Portion Control Can Help You Eat ‘Forbidden Foods’
People who diet frequently often put themselves on very strict meal plans with little wiggle room for treats and other not-so-healthy foods. But what about practicing portion control? Two French fries or a few bites of cheesecake aren’t going to ruin your weight loss efforts—but eating a cheesecake the size of your head out of chronic deprivation can lead to weight gain over time. Practice portion control for high-calorie foods so you don’t feel deprived.
3. Make Healthy Choices a Lifestyle, Not a Temporary Fix
The key to eating well and freeing yourself from dieting is to treat your eating plan as a lifestyle, not a short-term plan to help you lose X pounds in Y days. If you make eating right and exercising a lifestyle, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your plan in the long term.
4. Eliminate the Word ‘Cheat’ from Your Vocabulary
Lately words like ‘cheat’ or ‘cheat meal’ have become very popular in mainstream diet culture. While I do believe it’s okay to enjoy the occasional treat, there’s no reason to let yourself go for an entire meal. A cheat meal can easily turn into a cheat day or a cheat week. Moreover, treating cheat meals in this way can lead to negative emotions around these foods, which can ultimately set you up for failure.
5. Stop Counting Calories
If you’re a die-hard calorie counter, you need to stop today. Sure, counting calories might be something you do for a while to get a feel for how much you are or should be eating in a day. But there’s no need to tie yourself to a notebook where you record every morsel of food you’ve eaten in a given day. Free yourself from dieting and stop counting calories!
6. Eat for Health and Longevity, Not for Weight Loss
When you follow a specific meal plan, what are your goals? If your focus is solely on weight loss, you’re much more likely to exhibit unhealthy eating habits. But if your goal is to reduce your chance of heart disease or prevent diabetes, these are much better long-term goals that focus on health over immediate weight loss.
7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Freeing yourself from dieting doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes you’ll still go overboard at that engagement party or baby shower. But if you haven’t eaten your best, it’s important to accept your mistake and move on. There’s no point in holding onto negative emotions because of the food you ate. It will only lead to anxiety and stress that’s completely unneeded.
Freeing yourself from a lifetime of dieting is probably one of the most liberating experiences you’ll undergo in your health and wellness journey. But once it happens, you’ll be unstoppable. What techniques and strategies have you used to get yourself out of a diet mentality?