No Wellness Wankery

102: F*ck Diets. Want to lose weight? Try these 10 habits instead.

February 20, 2024 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
102: F*ck Diets. Want to lose weight? Try these 10 habits instead.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Diets have consequences… A lot of consequences. They slow your metabolism, increase your cravings and hunger levels, make it near impossible for you to keep the weight off in the long term.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Why diets don’t help you lose weight in the long-term
  • The downsides of dieting, and why you should stop trying new diets today
  • What you can learn from people who are at their body’s “happy weight”
  • The consequences of having a scarcity mindset around food
  • How to prevent overeating, and feel more satisfied after your meals
  • How doing less can sometimes help you achieve more with your health

Want to learn more about ditching dieting for good, and learn to make peace with food and your body? Listen to the super short version of my FREE webinar, How to Feel In Control Around Food, here.

If you’re interested in my Binge Free Academy, and want to make peace with food and your body so you can stop yo yo dieting and obsessing over food for good, check it out here. It’s the only way to work with me face-to-face, and have me answer all your questions! Plus, you’ll get lifetime access to the course content - because I want you to win the battle against binge eating and food obsession!

Don’t know what to eat? Want to stop obsessing over your next meal, and feel more satisfied from your cooking? Get my Back to Basics app today - try it FREE for 7 days here.

Looking for more evidence-based (but still fun!) health tips and strategies? Sign up for my weekly newsletter here. I promise, I don’t spam you - it’s all puppies, roses and hard-hitting health info here.

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Speaker 1:

Hello everyone. It's Lindy Cohen, dietitian, and you read the title of this podcast, so you know what we're here to talk about. And I think the number one thing I wish everyone would understand is that diets don't help you lose weight. Well, not over the long term anyway. They do in the short term, and that's why we keep going back to them, but ultimately they lead to yoyo dieting, binge eating and obsessive thoughts around food, and it's just no way to live. If diets helped you lose weight and keep it off, wouldn't you be at your goal weight by now? Haven't you tried enough diets to realize that, hey, they are actually the problem. They're not the solution.

Speaker 1:

Not only that, but diets actually have the opposite effect of what we're hoping for weight gain. They slow your metabolism, which means you have to eat less and less and exercise more and more to burn the same amount of energy in a day. They increase your cravings for all the foods you don't want to be eating. They increase your hunger, so you now need to eat more food to feel satisfied. And I think the crazy thing about dieting is these impacts of diets are quite long-lasting. So even after you're gone, you know what I'm not doing the diet anymore. Your body still feels like it's stressed out, thinking, oh, I'm not really allowed to eat these foods. You have these lingering diet rules that keep your brain going we're not really allowed to eat that food. And so these side effects of that slow metabolism, the increased hunger, increased cravings, these all stick around and this is what leads us to that yo-yoing weight. Typically, what we see is that people lose weight and then they regain more weight than what they started at before the diet. And this is how come we have a multi-billion dollar industry of diet companies where their whole business model is on you becoming a repeat customer. Now what if this year, instead of doing that diet dance, we move towards a non-diet approach where you eat enough and you do that consistently, where you don't spend all day, every day, thinking about your next snack or you stop seeing food as good and bad. And what this will do is help you stop binge eating and overeating, helping you lose excessive weight and, I guess, find what is your happy weight all the weight in which your body is healthy and functioning at its best. I talk about this idea of your happy weight, but it's where you feel energized, your mood is stable, you sleep well and you perform really well at your workouts or exercise. Your thoughts aren't constantly consumed by food and your hormones are exactly where they need to be. If you want more support for finding your happy weight, I'll leave a link in the show notes as well. I have a free guide that you might want to get your paws on and go through and just see if there's any other tips that you can learn to help you find your happy weight.

Speaker 1:

But right now, let's talk about 10 habits. If you want to lose weight, you don't want to go on a diet. What should you be doing Now? Number one is to stop gripping foods, as good or bad, and allow yourself to have all food. So what happens is you don't end up fixating on the ones that you're forbidding yourself from eating, only to end up binging on them later. Now, if you are someone who has quite a different way of eating when you're in public versus in private, it's a clue that you are doing this, that when you're in public, you're going.

Speaker 1:

I don't want anyone to think that I'm greedy, that I'm eating the wrong foods, particularly when you're in a larger body. I remember when I was much heavier than I am now, I really felt very self-conscious that people would see me eating and think, oh well, there's that fat girls eating that there, of course should be eating that. And I felt that I mean, that was the voice that was inside my head and no one was actually saying those words, but I felt eyes on me and so, as a result, it was a natural thing that I would try and eat really healthily in front of other people and then I'd binge on all those foods that I wasn't allowed or I wasn't allowing myself to have in front of everyone else. And what we noticed is people who are I call them, unicorns. These people who naturally have a healthy weight, naturally they're happy weight these people, they do the opposite. They actually will go out and go. I'm going to go out with my friends and have some ice cream, or when I'm out for dinner, that's when I have dessert, and then when they're at home, they're like.

Speaker 1:

You know, this is the time for eating healthily. Part of this is when you group foods as good or bad, you think they are wrong, but you're not allowed to eat them. This is part of the problem and it's contributing to that. All or nothing, the yo-yoing and, ultimately, the binge eating as well. The second thing I want you to do and you bet, I bet you could have guessed this one, but I really do want you to stop dieting. And now this is similar to I'll stop categorizing foods as good or bad or healthy. On healthy, it is all linked up in this. I talk about this in my book. Your Weight is Not the Problem.

Speaker 1:

How we have these lingering diet rules that get caught up in our brain. We can't release them. We tell ourselves well, I'm not actually sticking to the Atkins diet or the keto or the paleo or weight watches. I'm not actually doing it, but you still have the points, so you remember how many points each food is. Or you might lie in bed at night and you're calculating whether or not you're good or bad. You're still doing things like weighing yourself. You're, you know, after a weekend of eating more than you planned, you're still kind of going oh, I need to try and do better tomorrow. All of these things are sneaky ways in which you are dieting by mistake and what it's doing is it's creating a scarcity mindset around food and you're blaming your willpower, thinking this is all my fault, but it's not. Your body is simply trying to protect you because it sees dieting as a threat. So one of the things you absolutely need to be doing is helping your body trust that food is always allowed, it's not going to be taken away or run out, and this is what helps you feel more relaxed and in control around food.

Speaker 1:

Now, if you do have this feeling of feeling totally out of control with food and you don't know what the next steps are, I have a free webinar that I think is really going to help you. It's got some very practical advice plus beautiful slides that you can kind of follow along and learn, and if you're a visual learner, this is absolutely for you. I will leave a link to this in the show notes. It's totally free, just a free training from me. So if you're noticing you're stuck in that mindset, please go and make the time to watch that webinar.

Speaker 1:

Tip number three is not to skip meals. Now, this is saying that I really love. If you under eat, your body will make up for it, with or without you, and I think if you're someone who ever felt out of control with food, you know that feeling of going. I didn't eat enough for lunch today. I got home, I was rather-ness and then it felt like I was totally out of control. I ate everything in the, everything I didn't want to eat. I went through the drive-thru on the way home from work because I was just so hungry, or I was so emotionally hungry that I just ate everything, skipping meals or even the act of not eating enough. So you might go, I'm not gonna eat a meal. Or you might say, well, I'm just gonna have a light, fluffy, low calorie meal. These are still gonna do the exact same thing. They're gonna create that excessive hunger and once your body tips on it over into excessive hunger, it can be incredibly hard to stop it.

Speaker 1:

If you think about hunger as a very primal need, we have basic needs right Hydration, shelter, food. Your body will do pretty much anything in order to satiate that need, to make sure you don't feel hungry, and so it will go. Anything that any, all good intentions, all willpower, that doesn't matter, because what I need is I need to eat, and then what I really need is calories, and I don't care where those calories come from. So I talk about intuitive eating and I help you become an intuitive eater, but also there's a part of this where you do have to actually eat consistently for you, eating balanced meals for you, eating enough for you, because remembering when you under eat, your body will make up for it, with or without you.

Speaker 1:

Number four I want you to make sure that you're including a source of complex carbs, some protein and some healthy fats, at each meal, and what this does is it leaves you feeling satisfied and prevents overeating later on. I know you've seen the diet noise that says oh, you can't have fats, or fat is fattening carbs, you need to cut them out to lose weight, or that you're. Currently, people are obsessed with protein. Yes, protein is important, and so are healthy fats, and so are carbohydrates. And if you are finishing your meals and you're not feeling truly satisfied and you're still seeking out other food, you know you're going oh, I really feel like eating something else. I feel like saying sweet.

Speaker 1:

It is a clue that whatever you are eating for that meal is not hitting the spot. Maybe, instead of a smoothie for breakfast, you're going. You know what. That just doesn't feel like a meal for me. What I really need is to have a bowl of porridge with some nut butter and some honey on top and some fruit, and that is what's going to make me feel satisfied. So, please, experiment, play around with your body, and if you're going, I don't even know what to eat anymore. It all feels so overwhelming. I have my Back to Basics app and you can try that free. Loads of recipes in there that I've taken the effort to make them super simple, make them nutritious, so you do not need to do the obsessing over food. You can just eat foods that are satisfying, prep them easily, have them ready to go and get those balanced meals into your body so that you don't get ravenously hungry. Your body doesn't seek out extra food and we stop this all or nothing mindset.

Speaker 1:

Tip number five please, please, please, please, prioritize sleep. I know I talk about this a lot, but if you haven't heard me talk about it, I just want to say if your body is not getting enough energy from rest, it will seek out energy However it can, and the easiest way to get more energy eating calories are such an easy way for your body to go. You know what? I did not sleep well last night. I did not sleep enough. Now I'm going to get a little bit of an energy top up by getting a Kit Kat in the afternoon, because I'm really just feeling quite tired. Now I talk about this in my book. Your way is not the problem. We must, we must, we must prioritize sleep and getting good quality sleep.

Speaker 1:

60% of us do not get good quality sleep, and so it's such an important thing that we so often think what am I eating? How do I fix what I'm eating? But so much of your behavior, and, ultimately, why you eat, is all driven by your psychology, in your brain, and if you're not getting enough sleep, your brain is not functioning at its best. So think about your brain health here, your motivation, your consistency, your accountability. If all these things are things that you struggle with and might, you might consider that sleep may be a big part of the puzzle that is missing.

Speaker 1:

Tip number six is to stay hydrated, and I know you have heard that that is basic, but are you doing it? When you go to the toilet and you make a wee, what color is it? What color was your last wee that you made? Did you even look? I think no one really talks about this, but it's something that I wanna teach my kids. I wish someone taught me to go. You know what? Once you go to the toilet, you peer inside and you take a look. This is all just feedback from your body. Your body's trying to always give you cues and clues about how to take care of it. Looking at your wee is just one thing you can do to go okay, am I drinking enough? Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated and there's a good chance that if you're dehydrated, your body's gonna go I really just wanna eat food, because I know that foods do contain water, and I will take water, however I can. Once again that primal need that will overwrite all your best intentions. So we do wanna ensure that we're giving our body its basic, fundamental needs, and this is the hierarchy of healthy habits. If you've read my book, you're gonna know what I'm talking about, and this is why it's so crucial that we are drinking enough water. Your wee should be light colored yellow. It shouldn't be bright. You shouldn't be able to smell it and if you can, then it's a clue that you drastically need to increase how much hydration you're getting.

Speaker 1:

Tip number seven can we please leave unenjoyable exercise in the past? Yes, things like high intensity interval training do burn quite a bit of calories, so does something like running. But if you hate those things and it's gonna feel like a chore, like a bore, like a punish, then that is no way to be consistent. Remember, consistency comes from enjoyment and ease. These are two important ingredients when we wanna be inconsistent.

Speaker 1:

So how do you be more consistent when it comes to exercise? Two things. One I say go gentle, and I say make it enjoyable. So what that might look like is instead of going, oh, I have to start running, or I have to go, start going to the gym for an hour, you go. Well, what would be a more enjoyable version? Would I find going to a dance class more enjoyable? And if that's in the diary, is that gonna make it a lot more easy for me to be consistent? Yes, probably. What about a walk with a friend every Saturday morning? Is that more enjoyable to me? Yes, if it is great.

Speaker 1:

And if you wanna get into running, ask yourself how can I make running as enjoyable as possible? Maybe you're joining a running group or with a whole bunch of people. Maybe you are listening to a great podcast like this one, or some great music. You're getting the right gear and going slow. So that's the trick when it comes to running If you're wanting to start running, you have to run so much slower than you think, because that is what helps you get the kilometers or the miles, and so that is such a great lesson when it comes to all of health.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes doing less is going to help us do a lot more, be a lot more consistent, because, ultimately, remembering this 20 minutes of enjoyable, gentle exercise, of stretching, of dancing, of gardening, is always better than an hour at the gym that you never, ever end up doing. And if you have an unhealthy relationship with exercise, where you see it as a pain and a chore, start with those kinds of movements. Where you're going I'm gonna go gardening, I'm taking the dog for a walk, I'm parking a little bit further and I'm walking a little bit All these little bits and pieces they all add up. Exercise is really essential for your mood, for your energy, for how well you sleep, and sometimes, when you're in a state where you haven't exercised in a while, you forget how good you could feel if you were moving your body. So please make it enjoyable, find ways for you to do it every single day so that you can feel your best in your body, and this is pretty important.

Speaker 1:

So tip number eight is to reintegrate the foods that you once found scary. So a way to do this really slowly is you start enjoying whatever food it is out with friends. So maybe for me, a scary food was always Nutella, because as soon as I had it in the house, I would just binge on it and finish the jar of Nutella. So what I did is when I reintegrated the scary food, it was only scary because I felt I couldn't control myself around it. I would go to a cafe, I'd order Nutella on toast and I'd sit there in front of other people and I'd eat it and I would hear my brain going oh no, they're gonna judge you, they're gonna think you're. Oh, you know what, no one cares. And it's true, no one cares and it's going to be scary. But what you do is you start to build up your tolerance for it. Then what you can do is you can buy some for your house and integrate it into your daily routine, so you might have some Nutella on bread, for example.

Speaker 1:

Now, key to this working is not telling yourself oh, I'm only allowed to eat this much. Or oh, this is really bad for me. All of that diet chatter is actually going to make you more likely to find you can't stop eating that food. Now, once again, if you want help for this, that free webinar how to fill out in control around food, that is going to be very helpful for you. I talk about that, this idea in there, in detail, with pictures, so that you can actually start to make those scary foods feel Very unscary, feel very normal, and do you know what you might actually forget there in the pantry once you do this method? I have Nutella in my house right now. I can't, I can't tell you the last time I ate it. It's just sitting there. I never thought I'd be one of these people. I am one of these people now and it is incredible and it's doable and it's something that is learned, not something that you were born with.

Speaker 1:

Tip number nine is to realize that your happy weight may not be your goal weight and Every time you keep fighting to get your body to a certain size, you are compromising your mental health, your physical health. You are Letting food and your weight control and dictate your life. My favorite expression is don't give up 95% of your life to weigh 5% less. What is helpful, in fact, is to actually get distracted. If your every thought keeps coming back to food. Don't think about food. Don't think about food. Don't think about food. What do you think you're gonna think about? You're gonna think about food. So the less we obsess over dieting and eating and all the rules and regulations, and you might actually find you become one of those people oh, I forgot to eat. Perhaps. Now you think, well, how could I ever forget to eat? And if that's a feeling you have, it's a clue that you are too obsessed with food, that you need to Lighten your load when it comes to how much time you spend thinking about food. Try, pursue other interests, and every time you hear that diet cheetah chatter come on in your brain. You remind yourself you know what listening to you hasn't really helped. I'm gonna change the channel on you and not listen to you.

Speaker 1:

Tip number 10 is to recognize that your weight doesn't determine your worth. Work on improving your confidence in who you are as a person, beyond your weight and beyond your body. In separating your identity from your body, you put less pressure and stress on yourself to lose weight and look a certain way, and I really think it's the stress that we put on ourselves that we have to lose the weight that actually gets in the way of us losing weight, and by reducing stress and finding ease with food, any excessive weight may gradually fall off without you having to try too hard. When you're adding in little habits that feel good and Enjoyable and a consistent have ease that are gentle and enjoyable, when you're doing intuitive eating, what's what you're gonna find? That you can stop eating when you feel full and you can look after your body, and you do it because you like it, Not because you hate it and you want to fix it.

Speaker 1:

All this comes down to is trusting your body and your body. All this comes down to is trusting your body, trusting that it will tell you when it's hungry, that it will tell you when it's full and that food is always going to be available, because that is food trust, and that is essential. Now, if all of this is sounding a little bit too daunting and overwhelming and you feel like you need a little bit of extra guidance, I have something called my binge-free Academy, which is all designed to help you stop yo-yo dieting, stop binge eating and Over-eating for good, so you can finally make peace with food and your body. But what's especially cool is that you get live group coaching with me. I do not see clients one-on-one and this is one way that you can tap into my brain, get your questions answered from me, learn from everyone else. In fact, when you sign up, you'll get equivalent of a year's worth of live group coaching and then lifetime access to binge-free Academy so that you can get all the evidence-based modules and all the learnings and learn at your own pace and have the support you need.

Speaker 1:

Anyway, I hope you found today's podcast episode helpful. Thanks for listening and I'll see you next time. Finding it tricky to make time to create or cook healthy, balance recipes amongst the busyness of work, family, social life and every day to do lists? I see you my back to basics app. It gives you hundreds of nutritious, dietitian designed recipes, all created to be super simple, quick and easy to prepare, as well as Workouts, mindfulness exercises and all the tools you need to live your best life, streamline your life and make healthy cooking a breeze, not to mention totally delicious and enjoyable. With my back to basics app, you can sign up at the link in the show notes today.

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