A Different Kind of January Detox
While you may be hearing about detoxes from your co-workers, trainers, and every magazine you pick up in January, today I’m writing about a different kind of detox: this is a detox from dieting and diet culture; from a list of foods you can and can’t eat; from the false promises of the ever-profiting diet industry.
The Dieting Detox is a time for you to turn off the messages of false hope, restriction, and unhealthy obsession with food that our culture promotes.
Research shows that diets (and ANY type of food rules – even Clean Eating) are shown to:
- Increase BMI;
- Decrease body satisfaction;
- Decrease body awareness (like hunger and fullness);
- Increase food obsession and cravings (even long after the diet is over); and
- Increase the incidence of eating disorders, in particular binge eating disorder (BED).
While I preach a message of self-love, nourishment and joy in eating, I do recognize how hard it is to break free from the messages of mainstream diet culture.
If you still feel compelled to do a juice cleanse, Whole 30 or ‘Eat Clean’ in hopes that it will be the magic you’ve waited for, I’d like to propose an exercise for you:
Chart out the following information about your dieting or ‘food rules’ over the past 5-10 years:
- What plan did you follow?
- How long did you last on the plan?
- How much weight did you lose?
- Did you maintain that weight loss?
- If you gained back the weight, was your weight higher than you started?
Seeing this info can be very eye-opening because it is human nature to revise our dieting history in our minds.
If you need to be convinced of the harmful effects of dieting with some research, I’ve listed some studies below that you can read.*
So how do you detox from dieting?
Note: this is a long list of suggestions and the idea is not to replace the rules of dieting with the rules of non-dieting. 🙂 See if any of the suggestions below resonate with you and experiment with trying a few out.
- Tune out any rules that tell you what, when and how much you should eat;
- Start to introduce ALL foods into your diet;
- Think about what you REALLY want to eat, not what you think you SHOULD eat;
- Exercise for the good feelings it provides, rather than as a means to burn calories;
- Work towards ditching the scale;
- Challenge the belief that thin=healthy (read Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon);
- Eat when you feel hungry;
- Stop labelling foods ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
Breaking up with diets and diet culture takes time. But, contrary to the message from our society, it brings us closer to physical AND mental health.
Can you visualize what you might feel like next January if you start putting these ideas into practice now?
Wishing you joy and satisfaction in your eating experiences…..
If you want to learn more about a different way of eating that focuses on your hunger and fullness signals, and lets you enjoy all foods, check out my blog posts on Intuitive Eating:
Kelly Abramson MS, RD is a dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who works with clients in Alexandria, VA and virtually via telehealth. She guides women as they break free from dieting to find joy in food and their bodies. Kelly blogs regularly at NpowerYou.com and has created a free e-book for download, “7 Steps to Overcome Stress Eating.”