Let’s cut to the chase: for sustainable weight loss, diets simply do not work! Fad diets such as the South Beach, Atkins, or even the newer trend of intermittent fasting promise rapid weight loss, and as tempting as they may sound, are actually more harmful than you think.

Have you ever tried an intense and restrictive diet — and successfully hit your weight loss goals? If so, you’re familiar with the inevitable weight re-gain that typically occurs when you go back to your normal eating habits. Not only do you gain weight back, but you may even end up weighing more than before. After the weight regain occurs, intense feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem can arise, which eventually will lead to another attempt at a diet. This repetitive unhealthy cycle is called yo-yo dieting.

The effects of yo-yo dieting can hurt us both physically and mentally, and can slow down the process of maintainable, healthy weight loss. Yo-yo dieting can also mess with your metabolism, which can make it that much harder to shed pounds at the beginning of your next diet plan. So if dieting isn’t the magical answer to healthy and sustainable weight loss, what is? No, it isn’t magical unicorn fat burning fairy dust! It’s a practice called intuitive eating.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach to building a healthy relationship with food. Get rid of the mentality that there are good and bad foods; get rid of the diet mentality! There are simply certain foods that are more nutritious for our health — and foods that aren’t as nutrient-dense.

Accepting this concept is a very important component for weight loss. Guilt-driven behaviors, like labeling food as “bad”, can lead to binge eating, feelings of shamefulness and negativity, or other self-destructive behavior. Understanding the importance of giving our body the nutrients it needs is necessary for weight loss success. Having a piece of chocolate cake while trying to lose weight won’t completely throw you off your plan; don’t let it discourage you or make you give up. Simply acknowledge what it is you are putting into your body, enjoy it, and be ready to work that much harder the very next day.

Another main principle of intuitive eating is becoming more aware of what your body is telling you. Get to learn your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eating intuitively means eating only when you are truly hungry and stopping when you feel satisfied. All of us are guilty of eating out of boredom, sadness, or otherwise. All of us have overindulged. Beginning to acknowledge your body signals and eating only when you really need to will, over time, help you curb your emotional eating habits. Taking the first steps to listening to your body and becoming more aware of what you’re putting into your body is essential to weight loss.

Here at Iron Orr Fitness, I can help you get rid of the diet mentality and create a sustainable, non-restrictive nutrition plan that will allow you to enjoy life while still losing weight. Life is meant to be enjoyed and diets are the furthest thing from fun! So, let’s make it fun! I can teach you how to transition from the diet mentality to intuitive eating, and more importantly, make it a life-long habit. I’m here to help you, so send me a text today and I’ll lock arms with you to start the process of intuitive eating!!!

-by Tess Harper