Ever wonder why Weight Watchers and other popular diets don't work?
You can go right to the podcast episode. LISTEN HERE.
This episode includes a free worksheet that you can grab here
We had an amazing conversation on our Instagram the other day. It was all about weight watchers and it started because a woman reached out to us and said she was a researcher for WW and wanted to know what intuitive eating means to those who subscribe to it. NOTE: They are clearly trying to coop intuitive eating language so they can seem like they’re teaching a healthy food relationship when in fact they are just selling another diet.
Women were sharing their WW (weight watchers) stories and the reason it was so powerful was because we were also receiving messages like this…
“While reading these comments and crying I finally understand that I’m not a failure!”
YES! We all have stories like these but we just don't share them enough so we think we’re all alone.
Here's just one of many stories we received...
So why do we all have similar stories like this?
Stories like this are so predictable and common because diets cause our bodies to react in certain ways and our minds to get stuck in certain thought patterns - both of which that are NOT what you are looking for.
Physically, restriction (meaning not eating to satisfaction, not just eating what you THINK is enough) causes a lot of anguish
- Primal hunger
- Binge eating
- Preoccupation with food because your body thinks it’s in a famine!!
Mentally restriction causes a lot of problems as well.
This preoccupation with food distracts us from our lives and it ends up being all we’re thinking about!
We become anxious, obsessive, guilty and ashamed when we give in to it all, inevitably.
ANY program that limits food in any way - food group, calories, amounts etc. is a diet.
Diets such as:
Keto, whole 30 - these are pretty self explanatory, they limit food groups, simple enough.
But what about intermittent fasting, macros and WW ? These technically allow you to eat whatever you want. But do they? NO - there are always limitations.
And limitations mean diets.
So how CAN we identify a diet when it seems iffy?
(Many companies are adopting IE language so sometimes it genuinely can be tricky)
Signs to look out for:
- Any mention of weighing or weight loss
- Limitations around any certain foods, food groups, timing of eating., ANYTHING
- Any talk around THIS being “the way”. There is absolutely nothing that works for everyone (other than listening to YOUR own body of course).
- Any numbers - calories, weight, macros, etc
- Mention of healing your relationship with food/ ending binge eating without talking about needing to stop restricting.
Lastly, the mindsets that these diets get you in is really what keeps you stuck in the cycle and making it HARD to get out.
These mindsets are:
1. All or nothing thinking
This is the mindset that gets us stuck in the cycle
- Counting your points perfectly all week just to go crazy after your weigh in
- Either you’re being perfect or saying screw it
How can we begin escaping this mindset?
Reflect daily on where you could have it all.
Could you go to the gym AND join your friends for pizza tonight still?
Could you have that salad but its ok to skip the gym, you're so tired!
Could you have a couple of your moms cookies and then move on with your day normally?
Beginning to see where you can create more ebb and flow in your daily life will move you towards being able to have it all and get out of the cycle for good.
2. Thinking of food as good or bad
This is what we were taught our whole lives.
So its totally normal to think this way but heres the thing...
Many of us think as more nutritious and less nutritious foods as good or bad but that brings morality into it.
You aren't good if you eat your veggies and bad if you have dessert but that is really how diet culture functions.
This brings guilt and shame into eating which leads to bingeing and the all or nothing cycle all over again.
How can we begin escaping this mindset?
Reflect on your language - do you say things like…
"I was so good today."
"Oh I’m being so bad tonight as you reach for another slice of pizza."
"I’m going to be good starting Monday."
Working on language can be very powerful, if we start speaking differently we will naturally begin to think differently.
Shift your language whenever you notice yourself speaking this way - you can say, "I’m going to eat another piece of pizza", "I ate a lot of nutritious foods today"…. Etc
3. Inflexibility/ rigidity
Being flexible is pretty much the foundation of intuitive eating and UnDieting.
But dieting is quite the opposite - its all about rigidity and inflexibility.
Hello meal plans, counting a certain amount of points every single day of your life.. No room for adjustments or variations. And when you do cross the very strict line?
Well screw it! May as well go crazy and start again on Monday.
We want to get out of rigid thinking and into flexibility!
How do we escape this rigid mindset?
When you feel something didn’t go as planned, you got too full or even binged, take a deep breath and ask yourself what the next best step is - not the knee jerk reaction of screw it but actually make a calm decision.This might take practice and as our "screw it" muscles can be very strong.
Get your free worksheet to go with this episode so you can work on getting away from these 3 mindsets and into a life of wellness without the obsession.
Love, Lauren and Jenna
PS. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @thebodylovesociety, we offer coaching and tips and tools daily to make your journey to food and body freedom that much easier.