Many of our clients have discovered that dieting and excessive exercise to lose weight do not work.
In 95% of cases, dieting actually leads to weight gain, rather than weight loss. Many of these clients can feel lost and confused, as they want to improve their health yet they don’t know what to do. In the words of the great Dr Rick Kausman “If not dieting, then what?”
Here are CFIH leading expert’s top 4 tips to improve your health this year:
1. Resolve to treat your body well. If you’ve been unkind to your body and mistreated it, choose to start treating it with appreciation, kindness, and compassion. A diet or a detox is none of these things but rather, other forms of mistreatment. Doing more of what you’ve already done is unlikely to produce a different result.
If the thought of speaking to yourself with kindness and compassion, and looking at your body with appreciation, makes you feel uncomfortable then it’s likely these are the real resolution challenges you should be embarking upon.
Love is a far greater motivator than hatred and it is extremely difficult to take care of something that you don’t appreciate, let alone care about.
2. Improve your relationship with food and movement. If eating out triggers feelings of guilt or the need to punish yourself with exercise, perhaps it’s time to work on your relationship with food and movement.
By this, we mean develop a relationship where food doesn’t control you and where you can balance nourishment with pleasure and moving for enjoyment.
If you have a history of dieting and/or restriction, it is likely that you are plagued by rules and negative feelings with food and exercise.
Through unlearning many of the food and exercise related myths that you have been taught to buy into, and instead, learn to mindfully tune into your body and eat and move according to your physiological cues, you can learn to make choices that are healthy and satisfying and free from feelings of guilt and fear.
3. Don’t let the pursuit of a particular body weight or physical marker be at the expense of your mental and social health. In today’s society it is common for people to prioritise appearance above emotional health and relationships.
Many of us underestimate the impact our emotional health has on our health behaviours and subsequently, our physical health.If you were less stressed, would you drink alcohol of an evening?
If you had more energy, would you be more active? If you were a greater sense of happiness and wellbeing, would you be less inclined to resort to food as a source of pleasure or comfort?
Make a list of the things which improve your emotional health as well as a list of the things which reduce it, and resolve to keep them balanced like you would a bank account.
4. If you weren’t focusing on losing weight, what might you be worrying about? Many of our clients realise that losing weight, eating “clean” or exercising lots doesn’t really change anything meaningful. Often, focusing on these things serve as a distraction to avoid facing more complex issues that are making you unhappy.
List the different areas of your life (i.e., family, friendships, intimacy, social, career, wellbeing, etc) and rate them on a scale of 0 (“completely dissatisfying”) to 10 (“completely satisfying”) and then reflect on what you can do to balance these areas of your life.
The good news is, whatever action is required is something you do have control over (unlike your weight) and is a therefore a more guaranteed way of improving your life.
Written by CFIH Dietitian, Kate Pollard, and Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Alanah Dobinson.