It's drilled into our collective minds that eating less food is the best way to lose bodyweight. Makes sense. Eat less food and you'll lose weight. What can be wrong about this message? The problem is that eating less by following a diet plan may not be the best way to lose weight after all. The reason is that is that long-term compliance with sticking to stringent weight-loss diets is doomed to failure. Why? Because it makes eating foods seem like a guilty event rather than what eating food should really be about: pleasure.
The reality is that restraining your food intake may make you feel guilty about eating foods which inevitably encourages you to eat more food rather than less in order to provide comfort. Dieting is not the answer to losing weight. In fact, dieting may actually cause you to gain weight rather than lose it. Dieting tends to lead to unhealthy eating patterns which may cause binge eating.
So what is the better way to lose bodyweight? The answer is to listen to your body. It's that simple. Your body tells you when you should eat and how much. Purposely restraining food to the point where there is discomfort or intense hunger is no way to go about living your life. Ice cream and chips are not evil. Eating these foods in moderation while also eating foods such as fruits and vegetables is the key to healthy eating behaviors. The all-or-none attitude to eating has got to go! There is no need to severely restrict foods you may consider to be bad foods. This type of behavior inevitably leads to powerful urges to eat these foods in more amounts than we care to admit. Feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression, and reduced self-esteem from eating these "forbidden" foods can lead to an unhealthy eating pattern. Instead, eat some of these foods but also eat plenty of protein, vegetables, fruits, and slow-digesting, high-fiber carbs.
BOTTOM LINE: Eating should be a pleasurable experience and not a source of guilt. We eat food to nourish our bodies and to feel good. Dietary restrictions can easily lead to unhealthy eating patterns. Stop thinking there are "good" and "bad" foods. Instead, think of foods as sustenance. Eat slowly. Abide by your appetite and listen to the hunger signals your body is teling you. Trust these hunger cues and STOP RESTRICTING CERTAIN FOODS. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to lose weight and question any diet that has rigid rules and promotes the restriction of particular foods. Stop feeling guilty and eat what you like!
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.