Why We Should Stop Dieting

It’s almost time for New Year’s resolutions. People often eat a lot around the holidays, and then are told to feel bad. Every year losing weight is in the top 3 most common resolutions, and the way people tend to go about weight loss is through diets. Countless studies have found that not only do diets not work, they create more harm than good. Diets focus on weight loss instead of health. This heavily encourages people to participate in disordered eating. Losing weight should honestly never be your goal, and it’s time we start talking about that.

Many diets will take out whole food groups, or perfectly healthy foods, and others encourage people not to eat enough. For example, the Paleo diet eliminates whole grains, and intermittent fasting encourages going long periods without eating. While this does make weight loss easier, it completely ignores health. Our bodies need and deserve food. Being thin does not automatically equal being healthy. These types of behaviors also can’t last. Anyone who goes on a diet, is bound to go off of it. If a way of eating can’t last a lifetime, it’s probably not going to help you in the long run. 

If diets are something you are drawn to, or you don’t feel like your body is currently healthy, there are still ways to set health goals. Health professionals encourage a new type of “diet” called intuitive eating. It’s focus is on giving your body what it needs to be healthy. On the official website for intuitive eating they focus on 10 main principles. One of the most important principles is what they call “honoring hunger”. If you feel hungry, eat! If it’s your birthday, and you want your favorite cake, have it! There is nothing wrong with food, or feeling full. They just recommend to stop eating once you are full if it’s not a special occasion. Every professional study on health has shown that this is the best way to keep yourself healthy. 

Friends Eating Fries and burgers Photo by Dan Gold from Unsplash

Our bodies go through so much, and help us so often. We need to respect our bodies in return. Simply trying to lose weight is not a good way to honor your body. Honor it by eating when you’re hungry, exercising a reasonable amount, and taking time for self care. Eating the amount your body needs very well might result in weight loss, and that’s okay. Sometimes it may keep you at the same weight or gaining weight, but feeling better, that’s also okay. Feeling happy and healthy should be the only priority with our bodies. They are beautiful and capable of so much, so it’s time we show them some love.