Are you thinking that you just can’t face another diet? You might have started to think that this intuitive or mindful eating approach, and the Eat Happy Method sounds interesting. You wonder, what is it like to quit dieting really? Well, I’m going to tell you what can happen immediately and long term when you resist diet plans and actually just eat food when you want it.
Some of these headings might seem a bit scary – but stick with me, it’s really worthwhile because going back to dieting is really not a solution!
You’ll feel a bit lost
Dieting and food rules are a very odd comfort blanket. A very tight comfort blanket – more like a straight-jacket really. But still, a very familiar thing that you’re just so used to. It’s quite reliable. The thoughts, the patterns, the routines. The making up for eating a certain way, the penance of exercise, the fasting or skipping meals. It’s a well worn, but very unhappy, path.
When you change, and no longer engage in those unhelpful eating habits and patterns – you can feel very lost. A bit lonely, and wondering if you’re doing the right thing.
You’ll feel very internally focused (this is a good thing) and it can seem odd. You’ll be hearing your thoughts and feeling your feelings as if they are more intense. It can be disconcerting – but this is exactly what needs to happen.
This is why I made sure the Eat Happy Method has some really practical steps so that it feels a bit safer. It’s also why I’ve created the Eat Happy Facebook Group so you don’t feel so alone!
You’ll eat more food
Of course you will! This is totally normal. You’ve been let out of the food prison (diet) and you are going to want to eat. It will seem very odd. “What, I can actually eat this now?”
Not only can you eat all the stuff, but you are encouraged to eat it. Why? Because you need to learn how to eat in the real world – not the weird, unreal dieting world. You need to know how many plates make YOU feel full, or what types of food agree with YOU.
Dieting rules are based on outside stuff, but food is personal to YOU. That’s why it’s good that you are starting to listen to yourself because you need to hear what’s going on for you.
You’ll still be worrying if this is right or not. But trust has to be regained over time. Dieting breaks that bond of trust you should have with yourself, so to rebuild it takes some time. Keep going, keep eating, keep listening and then you’ll be on your way to really having an amazing relationship with yourself and food.
You might gain some weight
I did. Lots of people do. When you quit dieting, a few things can happen.
One is that because you’re eating more food in general, you might just gain some fat because of this. Totally fine. I promise.
Another reason is more to do with metabolic shifts in your body. The Set Point theory states that our bodies have a natural weight that it likes to achieve and keep balanced there. Dieting mucks up this set point. When people start eating more, the set point does go out of whack before it settles down. (Dieting sets this set point higher each time you diet btw) so more weight gain after a diet is ‘normal’ anyways.
When I quit dieting, or controlling my food, I ate a lot of bread. Because bread wasn’t something I had eaten much of for a few years. My belly did get doughy and a bit bigger.
I know it sounds scary to hear this, but guess what – because I had learned some amazing tools, I wasn’t scared at all. I knew that breaking my dieting behaviours was more important, and guess what? It all worked out fine! I settled at a steady and comfortable weight, I eat bread in comfortable moderation and my relationship with food is brilliant now. So weight gain was a necessary step, and a part of the process!
You’ll start noticing when you’re hungry and when you’re full
Over time, you’ll get an amazing relationship going on with your self. It will be like a three way conversation. You’ll have Food – Body – Mind. Each will need to be listened to. You Mind might feel agitated and want sugar. Your Body might feel full and want a cup of tea. The Food you have around you might appeal or not. You listen to all of these parts and go with what you think is best. You just keep learning. You input some food, and you gather data with the feedback. “That felt fine / That wasn’t so nice / That’s made me feel too full” and on it goes. A quick, easy, system of figuring out what to eat, how much, when to stop.
Guilt won’t drive you. There will be no punishment. And your mind will have lots of free time to think up cool things to do with your life, rather than sit at home worrying about having eaten ‘too much’.
You’ll reach a balanced mindset and a balanced weight
And then you’ll reach this place of just feeling super comfortable and settled. Like what you ‘should’ have been like had you not fallen onto the diet path by whatever means. It was like you had a path or a trajectory that your body was totally capable of doing in terms of eating, exercising and remaining balanced. But you got pushed onto this other (dieting) path that was much harder, more steep, and uncomfortable, and all the while the path you should have been on was right there for you all along.
Now you feel like you’re back on the right path for you. It’s food, it’s nice, it’s easy – and it means it helps fuel your life! You get to actually do stuff with your life now, because the eating part is just not a problem anymore.
You might travel, or work at a different job, or start your own business, or create something amazing.
That’s what happens when food is easy. You dress comfortably because you’ve come to know what feels good. And you’ll always have the skills needed to find balance if you feel like you’ve gone a bit awry.
You’ll Find a Supportive Community
The Eat Happy Facebook group is a great place where we are all learning how to get to the path of happy eating. Its aim is to promote mindful, intuitive eating through the Eat Happy Method so that you can live an awesome life.
To get back to feeling balanced with food takes some time, and sometimes you think “This can’t be the right way” but once you quit dieting, you really can’t go back. The way of happy eating is just before you, and it really is so much better and happier!
You’ll Do What You Want – And It Feels Great!
The whole point of quitting dieting and eating happy is that you’ll have energy and mental bandwidth to live the life you really want to live.
Dieting can take up 95% of your life but you end up feeling like you’re only allowed to live 5% of it.
That’s rubbish! You only get one life and dieting takes up too much time. Time you’ll never get back.
When you final quit dieting, it feels so freeing! You’ll be free to be you, to feel good and enjoy the life that you want to live!
If you want to know more about how to quit dieting for good – take a look at my friendly 1:1 coaching, available wherever you are in the world!