As I described about in my last post, There Is Such a Thing as Too Many Choices… And It’s Making You Want to Diet, the “paradox of choice” is a real problem with unexpected consequences.
Not only is dieting the single biggest predictor of weight GAIN, it also doesn’t work for 95% of people long term, AND it often leads to significant declines in mental and physical health.
So why do we still do it?
BECAUSE it gives us some semblance of control in an otherwise chaotic, overwhelming, and out-of-control world.
(This is ultimately why, right? We want to control our body’s appearance, it’s functioning, and/or the way others perceive us. When life seems unpredictable, or beyond our paygrade, we often try to make our plates and workouts look picture perfect and tidy. Maybe we can’t make more money, or have the perfect marriage, or do what our friends on social media are doing, but we sure as heck can try to eat the “right” way.)
Once you see the “diet/weight loss/healthism” industry for what it is, smoke and mirrors meant to distract you and make huge profits along the way, giving up on “diets/weight loss/healthism” quickly becomes the choice your mind, body and soul will SCREAM for.
Enter, the non-diet approach, aka Intuitive Eating.
One of the biggest parts of rejecting the diet mentality and making peace with food is neutralizing all foods (I’m not implying that they are all nutritionally EQUAL, but they are all morally neutral) and giving yourself unconditional permission to eat what feels best in your body.
For many of us this unconditional permission to eat hasn’t existed since EARLY childhood.
Soon you will find yourself back where you started in this whole restrict-then-binge mess… with ALL the choices in the world.
So how does having TOO many choices = dieting TURN INTO unlimited permission to eat = freedom and empowerment?
I am here to tell you one of the biggest, most unexpected benefits of embracing the non-diet approach… UNDENIABLE & CLEAR DECISION MAKING.
It’s Intuitive Eating’s best kept secret!
I have experienced this phenomenon for myself and I see it happening with the clients I work with. I hear it from other leaders in the Intuitive Eating community and I read about it in blogs, articles, and Facebook groups.
Re-training our bodies and minds to TRUST the signals we feel is weird and hard at first. You kinda feel like a newborn giraffe taking her awkward first steps. BUT little by little your confidence grows and you start to ‘just know’ what food sounds good, and what doesn’t.
As you experiment, try things, observe and tune in (don’t judge!!!), you will start to become a scientist of your own body, an anthropologist of your own life. You will start to know yourself better than any doctor or diet book or health guru ever could.
You start to ‘just know’ when and how to move your body, and when to rest, and when to have an extra portion of ice cream and when to ask for a hug instead.
It’s like MAGIC.
Even beyond the ‘food stuff’ other things will start to crystallize.
How you spend your free time changes (since you don’t have to prep food/meals, workout endlessly, and constantly research health, you will actually have more mental energy and free time). Your hobbies/passions start to become more important, and you may even start questioning your identity, career, or your relationships.
You start to ‘just know’ what clothes you like, where you want to vacation, what to buy at Target, and how to reply to that snarky email.
You don’t hem and haw over every decisions because indecision is born out of a lack of trust. When you don’t trust yourself you can’t be sure of anything, and other people’s opinions, feedback and judgement are often more important than your own.
BUT when you have built up the muscle of self-trust, you are unstoppable. Nothing can hold you back because you have an inner GPS that guides you through the complicated avenues of life.
If you are someone who suffers from chronic “can’t make a decision-itis” then try leaning into the intuitive lifestyle a bit more. Often applying the logic to your daily food choices is a good place to start, but you can simply start being more mindful and aware of the sensations your body gives you when you make ANY decision.
Join me over here in the land of clear-headedness… its delightful!