Ending The Diet Roller Coaster Once And For All

8 October 2014 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Filed Under: Non-Diet Approach

Every day there seems to be a new magic product, diet, programme or food that promises the dream of weight loss. This is even more noticeable at this time of the year! Promises of losing weight by the Christmas holidays. I used to believe those promises for 27 years, but they are false and empty promises…

If you follow a diet, of course you will lose weight but as Geneen Roth says “for every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge” and after some time, the weight usually comes back on again. So we look for another diet or programme and the cycle continues.

This is what it typically looks like:

Step 1
You decide to go on a diet and it (always) starts on a Monday. The weekend before you have your “last supper” and eat everything that is restricted on your chosen diet.

Step 2
You follow a programme that restricts quantities of food and eliminates food groups. You are told how much, what and when to eat.

Step 3
You lose weight and the diet ends.

Step 4
You return to old habits and eating patterns.

Step 5
The weight comes back on again and despair sets in! Then we repeat steps 1 – 5 over and over again.

Does this look familiar to you?

So, how do you get off the diet roller coaster? Well, the first and most important step… Make the decision NEVER to go on another diet again. Scary I know, it was terrifying for me but I have never looked back!

Now, I am going to share with you 7 steps on how to end this roller coaster ride once and for all!

Step 1
Let go of the hope, wish, idea that a diet is going to save you. Decide and commit that you will never diet again.

Step 2
Give yourself permission to eat what you want! So now you are probably thinking “WHAT? I will never stop eating chocolates!! I will never stop eating.” You may eat everything you denied yourself for a while but eventually you will stop. What I have noticed with my clients is that when they have permission to eat what they want, they tend not to go for the chocolate, pizza or cheesecake because they can have it whenever they want it! So much of our overeating is driven by “I shouldn’t be eating this” followed by “Oh well what the hell, I am going to eat it anyway”. For further reading, have a look at Why 30 Day No Sugar No Whatever Challenges Don’t Work.

Step 3
Listen to your body and trust your body. Eat when you are hungry (not starving) and stop eating before you are full, when you are satisfied or no longer hungry.  This process is about building trust between you and your body. Learning to identify hunger and satisfaction is key to this process. You are probably asking how the hell can I trust my body when all I do is overeat? Your body never lies, your mind will make up all sorts of stories the trick is to listen to your body and not your mind! Explore this step more in my blog — Eat When You Are Hungry and Stop When You Are Full.

Step 4
Learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Physical hunger builds up slowly in your body and the message goes from your belly to your brain saying “I am hungry – time to eat”. Emotional hunger is normally faster and it starts in the brain with a thought and then travels down into your body as a feeling. Then the urge comes to numb that feeling – be it boredom, frustration, irritation.

Step 5
Get to know your triggers to overeat. What causes you to eat when you are not hungry? What makes you overeat? This is one of the most important steps, if you don’t uncover these reasons, the weight will most likely not stay off. We really need to uncover why we turn to food. The most common reasons are: tiredness (by the way, I say this over and over again, food does not cure tired – only rest does! The only problem food solves is hunger.) Other common triggers are: frustration, anxiety, boredom, irritation, anger, sadness and loneliness. Further reading about this in my blogs Overeating At Night and The 7 Most Common Thoughts That Trigger Overeating.

Step 6
Acknowledge your progress and take it one meal at a time. Let go of “all or nothing” thinking. Coming to peace with food this way is about baby steps. Here are some ideas about What To Give Up.

Step 7
Accept that this is a long journey with twists and turns, it is process with relapses along the way. It is during the relapses that we can learn more about ourselves. Cultivate patience, acceptance and kindness to yourself. You can explore this further by reading Self Compassion.

Be Well and Eat Mindfully!

Xen.

Tired of overeating and feeling out of control around food? Dieting and restriction hasn’t worked for you? Do you want to find peace and freedom around food? Book a free Online Intro Session with me or join my “Food Freedom” 8 Week Programme (available in Jo’burg & Pretoria).

You can also sign up for my free Mindful Eating “Slightly Different” Advent Calendar to enjoy over the festive season.

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Certified by The Life Coach School Certified Life Coach Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro