It’s essential that we make efforts towards our health which don’t involve a dieting or hunger element.
I recently realised that the conflation of health and weight loss has been drastically hindering people from improving their wellbeing.
Why? Because when we embark on a ‘health plan’ which is simply a thinly veiled diet, we have a terrible time due to minuscule portioning or a low fat/low carb approach. When we restrict ourselves and exist in a perpetual state of hunger, we obsess over food and have a generally miserable time.
Whether we say we’re doing it for health reasons but don’t want to admit the true motivation is weight loss, or we actually are doing it for health reasons but whoever designed said ‘health plan’ has made sure you’ll be far from full and satisfied – either way we come away from the experience thinking that ‘healthy’ equals hungry, tired and taste-bored.
So here are a few important reminders so we can all start moving towards true wellbeing:
Thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy: Someone could be in a small body and be very unhealthy just as they could be in a large body and be very healthy.
Your body’s hunger cues are always valid and you always have unconditional permission to eat: Just because it’s outside of a designated meal or snack time, get used to feeding your body nourishing food when you feel hungry. Eating ‘a lot’ (so often a very healthy quantity of food is perceived as too much) is not necessarily unhealthy.
Wanting to be healthier and feel better doesn’t mean being dissatisfied with how you look: We need to see the difference between wanting to feel better physically through improving the quality of our diets and wanting to look different by decreasing the quantity of food we eat (even if the quality supposedly increases).
One motivation comes from self love, the other from self loathing: Loving and respecting your body enough to improve the quality of your diet and your overall lifestyle is a positive motivation which will breed sustainable, long term action. Hating (or simply being dissatisfied with) how your body looks and being driven to restrict yourself of fuel and nutrients will lead to erratic yo-yo dieting, food obsession and binge eating. The difference between the two scenarios is HUGE and one we need to recognise more clearly.
It’s important to become aware of the distinction between healthy living and dieting so we can find a more moderate middle ground between the diet and ‘wellness’ industry which promotes weight loss (however it’s packaged) and the anti-diet movement which promotes a total rejection of any thoughtfulness as to how we eat (also not a healthy approach).