This poster advocates ditching diet in favor of eating intuitively.
Picture this all-too-familiar scene: It’s lunch time at school. You sit down to a healthy lunch, which is, of course, an oversized salad, topped with bean sprouts and of course, low-calorie, fat-free dressing. You finish your lunch, but still feel uncomfortably… unsatisfied. Out of the corner of your eye, you suddenly spot your friend indulging in an oversized bag of mini Oreos, while simultaneously complaining about falling off her diet. Of course, out of sincere goodwill and concern for your friend’s health, you offer to help her with the gargantuan task of finishing the bag. You indulge. You feel gross. And your healthy lunch is history. Why does this scene seem so familiar to so many? What went wrong?
Here are some possible explanations for your unfortunate lunch fiasco:
You were still hungry because your lunch choice was pitifully short of the calories your body needed, especially since you were very active the day before. Besides, you don’t even especially like salad, so you were simply craving some more satisfaction.
You felt so restricted by the stringent standards of your diet that your body resisted it and resorted to unhealthy mediums of satisfaction.
You also had a history test coming up that was getting on your nerves. And what calms frazzled nerves better than a bag of Oreos? Welcome to the never-ending cycle of dieting so many succumb to for such a great deal of their lives.
But you’re not alone. According to US News and World Report, Americans spend $60 billion a year trying to lose weight. That means that the diet industry, which continues to amass more cash every year, has one secret to their ongoing success: Diets don’t work. Because if they did, Americans would all be fit and trim, and the diet industry would be out of business. Why are diets unsuccessful more often than not? And is there an alternative to the never-ending diet cycle?
Intuitive Dieting and Honoring Your Health
Respect your body’s needs and make smart health and food choices. Choose well-balanced, nutritious alternatives that will leave you feeling content and healthy. Consistent, gentle nutrition is necessary, but one cookie, one oversized meal, or one day of overeating shouldn’t make or break your hard-earned relationship with food.
“Forget the militant exercise,” says Evelyn. Exercising for the sake of burning fat and calories has little lasting motivation. Instead, get yourself moving doing activities and exercises you enjoy and feel their therapeutic influence on the mind and body. Walk to school on a nice day instead of carpooling, dive into a pool on a hot summer day, or play a good game of machanayim with friends.
“When I coach teens,” says Rena, “I find that one predominant challenge they experience is the pressure to diet, which peers are creating. But who really enjoys dieting? Wouldn’t it be great if we could use positive peer pressure to shift the focus from losing weight to becoming more intuitive to our needs? If the talk of the day were more about being intuitive and less about calories and numbers?”
Now that, my friends, is definitely food for thought.