3 Ways to Un-learn Diet Culture: Nourishment Over Numbers

If you’ve already read [5 Reasons You Need Whole Foods] and are still struggling to put what you know into action, just one little thing (huge) called diet culture may be to blame.

I have blogged before about not loving the idea of having to label my diet …and I’ve talked a lot about diet culture and how to get out of it [Consciousness Over Calories] but the process of unlearning diet culture takes a LOT of time. This is the icky reality that we may not want to face. That this problem we have will take a lot of un-learning. But once we figure that diet culture is the root of our pain and issues - we have something to work on now, a guide to follow. Breadcrumbs to trace.

How? 3 ways…

Embrace a simple, intuitive way of eating:

Diet culture teaches you that you need to follow rules and regulations. Give that ideology the middle finger by being fluid and flexible instead. The intuitive style of eating helps people reap the benefits of eating whole foods while still enjoying treats and life. It allows for more eating by following the bodies’ guidance system rather than following strict rules. Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, focus on less processed meat and animal products and limit added sugar and sweets.

There are at least fifty shades of eating styles. You don’t need to go ‘keto’ or go ‘____’ you can simply go healthy. When you transition to a more intuitive eating style, it can take your gut a bit of time to catch up. It usually clears up in a couple days, as long as you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated. (More fiber increases our water need!) You’ll notice your energy shift, digestive changes and other minor changes - keep going!

Understand that eating like a badass, getting super healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight for your frame has nothing to do with the quantity of your food. It has everything to do with the quality of your food.

Diet culture teaches us that numbers are the only important thing. The queen. The ruler. The champion. The big boss man. Well, we just know better. We know that a nourished body that takes in nutrient-dense foods will sustain a healthy weight rather than one that constantly yo-yo diets with restricted calories. We know that not only does this support proper weight loss, but it supports your skin health, bones and joints and digestion. The quality of our food (closer to nature, more real food) is going to get us to our goals, and it’s going to get us there in a way that feels good, not in a restrictive, frustrating, obsessive way. Let go of the diet chains

There is no way I can see my life without the reliable framework of dieting. What would it be like to let go?

Without a label on your diet, you can simply eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It may sound scary to not have any structure, trust me, it’s 100x better than the restraint and guilt and energy-stealing of a diet. Sometimes folks are scared of the freedom of a life without dieting, as they don’t trust themselves to not binge and go wild. When you listen to your body, you very likely won’t (and if you do, you’ll come back to eating healthy because it feels better than the binge hangover, not because a diet guilted you into it.) You’ll also get a sense of what you need more of in your diet when you do binge (is this emotional eating? Do I just need more starchy carbs and that's why I crave sugar? etc.) You will eventually feel this sense of freedom, but not without slight discomfort first. Let the chains of dieting fall away, even if it takes more time then you’d like, and this freedom feeling can be yours. It’ll change your life. It’ll just show up after your hard work. It’ll be worth it.

For the love of all things good in the world, stop the madness and walk away from the points and charts and diagrams and tracking apps and percentages and counting and numbers and worry and judgment and breaking food down to the sum of its parts. And instead, let’s find freedom in the simple act of eating quality food.

You can break the chain. You can stop dieting. You just have to commit to stopping. I know this is new information to most people, challenging to implement and that it takes a while to unlearn what the dieting industry and doctors have hammered into society for half a century. I get it. It is decades of their marketing that has told us why we’re not good enough, stuff our mothers and grandmothers’ said and did that we picked up along the way, and trends, books and our friends’ all doing it too. How could we not? It’s a lot to break away from.

But you can do it.

And if after reading all this - you still have questions about whether or not you should portion out or meals, focus on macronutrient ratios and count calories, the answer is no. Don’t overcomplicate this.

Focus on eating a wide range of whole plant foods (veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and unprocessed meat) so that you have plenty of nutritional diversity. And then eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re no longer hungry. It’s honestly as easy as that.

This is all about listening to your body.

The internet is a noisy place and there’s a LOT of bullshit “information” out there, especially about food. Pro tip: Possibly the most important piece of advice for you is to not overcomplicate this.

Break the chains that tie you to the war.

Eating healthy isn't about building up willpower to dominate everything all at once. It takes mindfulness, the ability to want to change and the skills, as a coach I can also add the accountability and support to do so. This is what I do! Let me help you with this!

-Health Coach K

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