In the first in a regular series of columns, Ali Silver examines our complex relationship with food.

Do you need to change your body? Or do you need to change your relationship with your body and with food?

If you are a woman, and it is also becoming more common in men these days, then it is more than likely you have been on a diet of sorts. 
Formerly they were sold to you, in the form of Atkins, Weight Watchers, the Cambridge diet and so on. This then turned gradually towards the concept of ‘clean’ eating and then entered Paleo, keto, vegan, low-carb and calorie and macro counting. However, a diet does not necessarily mean one of the above; many of us say we just ‘eat healthy’ and that ‘it’s all about balance’.

A diet is a way of eating that you are emotionally attached to.

It consists of rules; rules you may not even be aware of and restrictions; on when, how and what you are allowed to eat. The emotional aspect comes in when you label foods as good or bad, or have guilt and shame associated with eating so called ‘bad foods’.


Let me tell you something: 98% of diets do not work.

That means that 98% of the time when you control what you eat and how much you eat, it will not be a) sustainable or b) effective.
Even notions such as ‘food is fuel’, or ‘I should eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full’ are unhelpful thoughts and food rules. You should eat when and what you want to eat.

Unlike many people on the internet, I’m not saying this solely to people in smaller bodies. This should be the message for ALL bodies, regardless of size, race, gender.
Food is not fuel. Food is pleasure, it is social, it is cultural: it IS an emotional thing. What it is, is another aspect of your life. Not the be all and end all.
Only eating when hungry and stopping when full? What about at a party when you’ve had dinner but want that beautiful dessert?

Did you know that dieting causes a disconnection with your hunger and satiety? That means you may not know when you are hungry or full. Relying on a diet or set of rules to tell you how much and what to eat means that you lose touch with what your body and your mind really want and need. Then the inevitable moment when the cravings are too much and you have that ‘forbidden’ food, it leads to the rollercoaster binge-diet-binge diet cycle, which ends up leaving YOU feeling like the failure. You are not falling at the diet. The diet is failing you because you were never meant to be on a diet.

You may feel like you have overeaten, and think it will put a stone on overnight. That guilt may drive you to compensatory behaviours like restricting your food the next day, or over-exercising. Or it may lead you to binge until the point of discomfort.

There is room for all foods in your life, and that you do deserve to eat them, regardless off if you have trained or what size you are.
There is no perfect way of eating. There is no perfect body.
If you are reading this you may still be thinking “yes but then HOW do I lose weight??”
I hear you. Disregarding weight loss goes against everything that society and culture tell us. But I want you to consider for a monet, how much time and energy do you dedicate to food, exercise and the pursuit of weight loss? Imagine a world where that wasn’t the case.

Impossible? Nope. Myself, my clients and a whole world of people have done just that. Maybe this post will incentivise you to think “You know what I want more than weight loss? I want to feel normal around food. I want to choose freedom”

If you want change, then you have it available to you. It is a process, ditching food and body rules is not easy. But then, is what you’re doing now easy? Or is it painful, relentless and all-consuming?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with dieting, so please keep reaching out.

 

For more information or to book a session with Ali, check out

http://www.alisilver.co.uk

 

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