Why You Need to Ditch the Diet

Are you stuck in a never-ending cycle of bingeing and then dieting, or maybe just flicking from diet to diet in the hopes that it will be the answer to all your problems? Find out why you should ditch the diet and embrace a little self-love.

Here’s a fact: We all have body worries. Yep, all of us.

Whether it’s a wonky toe, a nose that’s slightly misaligned or a less-than-perfect tummy, there are always going to be parts of our body that we look at and think, “I wish …”

Body issues reign supreme

In fact, not even celebrities are free from this negative thinking. Keira Knightley has told interviewers that “I hate my body” and “I’d love to have tits, but I don’t – I have pecs.”

Uma Thurman hates her height and believes she is uncoordinated and has big feet while Jennifer Love Hewitt has said “The bottom parts of my legs look like Popeye’s drumsticks.”

Even Jennifer Aniston, who is renowned for having a fabulous body, once complained to Allure magazine that her “derriere is much more (her) challenge.”

And as for Jen’s arch nemesis, well it seems like Jolie is insecure about her swoon-worthy lips. “I know other women would kill for my lips, but I feel like they take over my face.”

So to repeat, it’s a fact that everyone has ‘issues’ with their body or things that they’d like to change given the chance. And while for some of us this is a signal to start dieting and buy a few cosmetic surgery magazines, there is another way. A diet-less, pain-free and loving way to handle body issues.

But first, let’s look at why you need to ditch the diet. Pronto.

The case for diet ditching

diet concept collage

Okay first of all, usually a diet is called a diet because you’re restricting a specific food group(s). The goal is that by removing carbs or fats or sugar (or whatever the heck else), you will lose weight and magically transform into Miranda Kerr.

But the reality is that most diets simply aren’t sustainable. Sure, you might see short-term weight loss on a certain diet, but what about your long-term health? Our bodies aren’t made to live on a diet of salad and salmon. They aren’t supposed to blossom on low-sugar fruits and nuts that are only imported from the jungles of Brazil.

Our bodies are meant to thrive on a range of different foods and food groups, not one or two low-calorie options. We need a variety of vitamins and minerals to help keep our bodies happy, healthy and working at their best. And these vitamins and minerals will not come from a restricted diet. They will come from a well-rounded, healthy attitude to nutrition.

Going on a diet also encourages you to feel guilty and negative about certain foods and good groups. This can negatively impact your relationship with food and lead to a myriad of eating disorders such as binge eating, overeating, bulimia and anorexia. Instead of viewing food as nourishing and beneficial, you begin to demonize certain foods and label them as ‘bad’.

Another point is that we underestimate our clever our bodies really are. When we put ourselves on a diet and restrict calories, almost straight away we see a result as our water weight starts to drop and then we lose a few kilos.

But by restricting your calories, your body wakes up and goes “Ruh-roh, we’re not getting enough calories anymore, better slow down the metabolism so we don’t run out of fuel.” This slow-down means that it’s even harder for you to lose further weight and can make you feel sluggish, tired and headachey.

And last but not least, who really likes the idea of being on a diet?

The alternative to dieting

So if not dieting, then what? Does this give us permission to attack a tub of icecream or pick up a six-pack of cupcakes?

Well, sure. You can. I’m certainly not going to tell you that you can’t. Because the alternative to dieting is simply using your noggin and making sensible nutrition decisions that stem from a need to nourish and support your body rather than deprive and punish it.

Here are some tips you can follow:

1. Think of food as fuel

This will probably be really hard to begin with because we all have an emotional relationship with food. Whether it’s from the cookie and milk days when you were a kid or a treat you used to get when you behaved well or did well in school, food is always going to have a certain amount of emotional appeal to us.

And this is okay. Food is our life source, the reason we can jump around, go for a jog and do the things we do every day. But instead of thinking about what you like to eat (like cupcakes, cookies and KFC), think about what your body likes you to eat.

Every time you go to eat something, look at it and ask yourself “How will this impact my body?” Consider whether it’s going to make your body feel good, or whether in an hour you’ll have a sugar crash and feel like sleeping. Once you begin to identify how certain foods make your body feel, you’ll find it easier to make wise nutrition decisions.

2. Change your relationship with your body

Blak and white Photo of a Girl Measuring Fat

Okay, so I mentioned before that we all have issues with our bodies. Things we’d like to change, things we’d like to tone and things that just straight up annoy the heck out of us.

But does this mean we’re not perfect exactly as we are?

No! In fact, it just reinforces how unique and special we are. How boring would it be if we all looked the same?

Which is why one of my tips to go diet-less is to change your relationship with your body. Stop wishing for legs like a supermodel, a butt like Beyonce and a rack like Sofia Vergara. Instead, love your legs, butt and rack.

Notice how wonderful your body is and the awesome things it’s capable of. Place more self-worth on your mind, your values, your personality and your dreams than on fitting your body into a pre-programmed mold.

Love yourself, exactly how you are. Because there’s nobody else in the world like you.

Now isn’t that something to celebrate?

3. Sim it

Have you ever played the game The Sims? If you haven’t, it’s where you take control of a Sim’s (a little virtual character) life. You make them get a job, eat, shower and work out. Everything from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed you’re in control of.

When I’m feeling a little lackluster about taking care of myself, I like to pretend I’m a Sim. It sounds silly, but when you make yourself responsible for someone elses’s life (even if it’s really just your own), your entire attitude changes. You begin to see your body as something that needs to be nurtured and that can be changed, rather than something that is stagnant and out of your control.

Thinking of myself like a Sim helps me get up early and go for a jog, because nobody wants to think that the life they’re in control of isn’t being taken care of. Thinking of myself like a Sim helps me ignore the cupcake and pick up a banana because I know the body I’m in charge of will get tired and sluggish after eating a cupcake, but will feel good after a banana.

Externalize your body and your situation and you will realize exactly how much control you have. You can directly impact how your body looks and feels. So take control!

4. Keep it simple

kid feeding mom

Eating healthy isn’t about only eating purple foods on Thursdays or starving yourself twice a week. Eating healthy is all about looking at the vast array of options available and making the choice that best affects your health.

Some simple guidelines are that if you’re eating something that doesn’t ‘expire’ for a few months or a year, it’s probably not all that great for your body. Healthy food spoils after about a week, so if you’re consuming anything that lasts longer than this, it won’t have the vitamins and minerals that you body needs.

Another tip is to eat a variety of foods. Don’t stick to the same thing every day because your body will only be drawing on the benefits of that same food. Offer it a range of different foods so your body can flourish.

And last but not least, use your brain. There is enough guidance, science and knowledge out there that we know when we’re eating something that nourishes our body and when we’re eating something that appeases our brain.

So stick to stuff that makes your body feel awesome, and you’ll be fine.

There’s no need to diet, calorie count or buy another book on dieting. Trust your body, your instincts and let the rest take care of yourself. Put yourself, and your health first and everything else will fall into place.


About the author

Cassandra Lane

While Cassandra readily admits to being a rampant cupcake aficionada (how could she not be with an almost-brother-in-law that owns not one, but three cupcake shops?) she happily works off her lust of all things sweet and sugary by slogging it out in the gym and outdoors.

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  • Just stumbled upon this site and I can’t get enough. The only problem I have with it is that every single girl in every single picture is super skinny, super fit, and gorgeous. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but for someone who has body issues and is looking for articles on how to fix them, seeing yet another girl with an abnormally large thigh gap is discouraging. Finally I found this article, though, and I’m starting to realize maybe I should worry less about my flaws and focus more on my health =]