Why I Say No to Dieting (and You Should Too)
Guest Post by Autumn Bear
An Alternative Point of View
Dieting is no easy subject to talk about. On one hand, dieting is what most people consider to be their new years resolution to loose those unwanted 10, 20, 30 pounds that stand in the way of their ideal beach bodies. On the other hand, dieting is thought of as an absolute necessity to deal with the catastrophic obesity that has oppressed our nation. I believe, however, that dieting does not address either of these problems.
Learning to eat is something we are taught as children the same way we are taught to tie our shoes, brush our teeth, and wash our clothes. Eating is both a relationship and a skill. Instead of food being something to celebrate, being something to nourish us and something we find great pleasure in, it has been morphed and shaped into some sort of demon that we all fear and don’t know how to relate to.
Dieting, in it’s essence, implies that we must take things away and restrict our body’s intake in order to create the reaction of the metabolism to burn up the waste of our body because it cannot get enough nourishment from what we take in. To many programs it has become a simple numbers game. However, to anyone who has ever tried dieting, it is anything BUT numbers. It becomes the battle of the wills to control our hunger, our desires, and to change our relationship with the things that we use to numb our pain.
If you are struggling with your weight and you are having the feelings of desperation to improve your life, get healthy, and feel better about who you are, dieting is not the way to go. Dieting does not teach you good eating habits, it only teaches you how to restrict, feel guilty about what you should or should not be eating and what is “good” and “bad” food.
It is important to understand that the food we eat is what becomes us. We are literally what we eat. The very cells of our body, the tissues, the muscles, our blood etc…are all manufactured from the foods we eat. When we decide to change our food or our relationship to food we are really trying to make a transformation within ourselves. We are attempting, at a fundamental level, to transform ourselves from one thing to another. We are looking to go from one state of mind to another. It is an incredible and very inspiring task that ends up becoming rather defeatist and daunting because we often need some re-education in order to make that process happen. In our attempts to re-educate ourselves we seek out education in the form of dieting which does not help us to transform our skill set or our relationship to food. It only redirects things temporarily but eventually we wind up traveling the same path we started on.
If you are looking for true transformation of self through food there are two recommendations I can give to you. The first is that we have to redevelop our relationship with food. I will leave it up to you to decide what you are comfortable with but if the problem is severe then perhaps seeking out therapy or support groups are appropriate. If you are not in a severe place where you are using food as a drug, then perhaps studying other cultures and their relationship to food can help give you some new perspective of eating and how food can play a different role in your life.
The second thing we can do is to seek re-education from a professional who is trained in the benefits of food and healthy eating. I recommend going to someone who has a holistic and integrative approach to food. Just seeking out a dietician can be rather clinical so perhaps a nutritionist with a background in integrative nutrition who can help you with understanding food, how to mix foods, what foods will nourish the different aspects of your person etc… Find someone who is excited about food, who loves food and who has a wonderful relationship with food so they can share recipes and cooking tips with you.
I hope your continued journey with food becomes something that brings enlightenment, pleasure and opportunity to your life with the possibility that you can find true transformation of self in the process. Be kind, patient and loving to yourself as there will be bumps along the way. Enjoy the process of discovery and may your path be filled with surprises and fun! Bon Appetit!