OMFG – if I ditch my diet, I am going to fucking eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and they’ll have to winch me out of my house on a crane. Then put me into a reenforced ambulance to hospital, cos I just can’t stop eating!!!!!!
I know this is a common fear. It was one I totally had myself. I truly believed that I needed a diet in order to put some control over my food intake, and that the alternative without that control was complete chaos eating. I believed I’d run into the nearest pie shop, hand them my credit card and devour all the pies on the spot.
What you need to ask yourself though it not “how can I control my eating?” but instead ask yourself why you believe you even NEED to control it in the first place. Always, always challenge your beliefs. Ask where this need to control came from. Ask yourself who told you that. When you start to do that, some interesting new perspectives start arriving …. so let’s have a look at some of these ….
Belief: If I don’t restrict, I will eat huge portion sizes.
The Diet Tribe can instill this. Think back to your times in Diet Club. How many sessions were about “portion control”? What things did the Diet Club leader say about portion sizes? How did you feel when they talked about them?
For me, it was a regular occurrence. I was told that I would automatically go for the largest, and that I needed to weigh everything to point it properly, so it fitted in with the programme. I felt afraid, that I couldn’t trust myself. I genuinely believed I was a greedy cow who needed to shut her gaping gob.
But part of the reason I felt like that was because I was so fucking hungry! I was putting judgement on my food and telling myself I “should” be satisfied with a certain size, cos that what everyone said was a good size. I was finishing up each meal believing I needed more. How much more I never let myself find out, so I did believe I was greedy. Truth was, when I stopped dieting, that more was usually only a few more mouthfuls – hardly the gigantic portion size I had feared.
Then I took a good deep look at hunger. I paid attention to how I felt. I asked other people – people who I knew had never dieted how they knew when they were hungry and how they knew when they’d had enough. I took their answers not as gospel, but as research. I noted their answers and asked myself to notice if I ever felt some of the things they said.
Something that hit me hugely, which was both enlightening and frustrating was that hunger and fullness are not things that need a heckofalot of attention paying to them, in order to be noted. So I stopped over thinking it all and just let hunger and full happen. I decided I was going to eat and I was going to stop when I had decided that was enough. And I was going to spend about 10 seconds asking myself how I felt after each meal and accept the first answer. And I did that over and over and over again.
Eventually, I just ate. I know when I’m full cos I start slowing down, pushing my food around the plate and getting distracted by other things. That’s my sign – yours might be different, but you’re never going to find out what your answer is while you’re filling your head with fears about eating too much. Find your own answer by telling the Diet Tribe voice in your head to go fuck off.
Belief: I’ll just eat junk food all the time!
Think back to the things the Diet Tribe say. They tell you that certain foods are “bad” and others “good”. Food has differing values assigned to it. And it’s just dang human nature to want what you’re told you can’t have.
What happened to me when I dieted was that I engaged in nutso food swaps that left me unsatisfied all the time. The food I chose to eat was based less on what I really felt I wanted and more on what would result in weight loss. I wasn’t eating food I loved. I was missing the satisfaction element.
So I started to eat what I believed I wanted. No judgement – just eat. It led to some bizarre combos – chilli with crushed bacon Frazzles on top. Banana slices topped with salt and vinegar crisps. Toast spread with cream.
But what I was doing here was rediscovering my own tastes. For too long I had narrowed down what I was allowing myself to eat, and I had to rediscover anew what I actually LIKED to eat. I would approach each food with a completely different mindset. I treated each food item as if I were tasting it for the first time.I would eat it slowly and ask myself “do I actually LIKE this?”
The results were strange. That take away Chinese that I could just never get enough of when I was on a diet? Too salty. Frazzles? A bit overpowering. Cheese? Yum, but only certain kinds.
When I stopped allowing the Diet Tribe to tell me what and how much to eat, and actually started to ask myself what were my own personal truths, my eating rocketed off Planet Dietandexercise and into a whole new world. A much calmer world. One without the gnawing anxiety around food in it.
And that belief, that I’d eat gigantic portion sizes and all junk food? It was crap. I don’t eat a never-ending parade of biscuits and ice cream. I don’t like biscuits and I prefer home made ice cream on the whole. But I only discovered that by dropping all those fucking shoulds and allowing MY OWN TASTES to emerge.
So if you’re worrying about this, I’d like you to start doing two things, from right this second. No prep required, no trackers to print out, no system to sign up to.
Changing your eating – starting this instant
1. Promise yourself that you will eat enough food to make you say, at the end of a meal “I’ve eaten enough”. Stop giving a flying fuck about how much you “should” be eating, and don’t ever compare the amount you eat with the amount anyone else eats – ever. Just focus purely on YOU and deciding when YOU have had enough.
2. Start to eat exactly what you feel you want. Regardless of whether it’s “healthy” or “unhealthy”. Ignore that shit. Imagine that you’ve never, ever tasted food before and you have to go out and find out what it tastes like. Swill it round your mouth (yes, you may look a bit silly on that one but hey). Ask yourself if you enjoy it or not. Does it taste great to you? Don’t discuss this with anyone, just take 10 seconds to ask yourself. And accept your first answer.
You don’t need a diet, you need to trust and stand up for yourself.
Punt the fear into the Fuck It Bucket, get Curious instead. One life – you can live it in fear or you can uncover what’s right for you, personally.