Does it feel like an uphill battle when you’re dieting?
Our bodies are so freaking smart, but we don’t realize the full extent to which our bodies are actually working for us. Our bodies are comprised of many systems that are interconnected and have evolved so that we have the best chance at survival.
But what are our bodies trying to tell us when we’re dieting and what happens when we go against them?
In this post, I will share the three common ways that people are fighting their own bodies, often in the name of “being good,” or “losing weight, or “not wanting to get fat.”
Scenario #1: No matter what’s happening, you’re constantly thinking about food: What am I going to eat? When can I eat? I want…. I can’t have…. When can I have that again? When’s my cheat day?
What your body is saying: I’m hungry! Feed me!
How you’re fighting your body: This preoccupation with food comes from not eating enough. Your body is bombarding your brain with thoughts and images of food because it’s trying to get your attention that it needs to eat.
What you should do: Eat! These thoughts will go away when you are satisfied and full.
Scenario #2: You’re controlled most of the time, but then you have those moments when you overeat or binge. You feel you’ve lost control or have no discipline.
What your body is saying: I don’t eat enough. Oh, FOOD! Om nom nom nom nom.
How you’re fighting your body: If you’re not giving your body enough energy to function optimally, your body will take the opportunity to make up for it when given the chance. For example, if you have a “cheat” day, your body will eat all of the things that day. And in all likelihood, it is an all-consuming experience that you’re not even enjoying because your body is so focussed on getting the food in the belly – and the mind is judging and feeling guilt and shame. On top of that, when the body thinks that food is scarce, it will eat as much as it can because it doesn’t know when an abundance of food will be available again.
What you should do: Eat regularly so that your body learns that food is readily available whenever you’re hungry and eat until you’re full so that your body has enough energy to function optimally.
Scenario #3: You can’t lose weight as easily as you could the first time.
What your body is saying: I’m starving; I don’t want to die. I’m going to conserve as much energy as I can by slowing down my metabolism so I can live as long as possible.
How you’re fighting your body: Losing weight isn’t as simple as reducing your calories and increasing your workouts; if it were, it wouldn’t be so damned difficult. On a cellular level, your body does not know the difference between starvation and intentional restriction. It’s all the same to your body, meaning that your body thinks it’s starving, so in an effort to survive, it will shift into energy-saving mode. Your metabolism slows down and keeps this information for next time, so that if it’s “threatened” again, it’ll be able to react faster.
What you should do: Ditch the diets. Rather than focussing on losing weight, consider focussing on implementing healthy behaviours that will improve your mental and physical health instead.
Our bodies are constantly adapting in an effort to survive and that sometimes means it’s going against what our brains want, which, in the cases above, is to lose weight. This is why it is so important to recognize that DIETING IS GOING AGAINST OUR BIOLOGY. It feels like an uphill battle because it IS an uphill battle.
If you’re interested in going deeper about the topic of intuitive eating, I invite you to book a call with me so we can talk about how intuitive eating works for you. Alternatively, sign up to my email list or follow me on Instagram to get more bite-sized bits about intuitive eating and how this can change your life!