The 4 Most Important Reasons To Quit Dieting In 2015 (And What To Do Instead)

By now we all know that diets don’t work, right? Even so, with a 68 billion dollar weight loss industry constantly enticing us to jump on the diet-and-deprivation bandwagon, it’s hard to just say no. I get it.

 

But here’s the thing: You cannot shame and deprive your way to a happy and healthy life. Even if you lose some weight on a restrictive diet, it doesn’t stick. And it certainly doesn’t make you feel fulfilled or free. Going on a diet is like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. They’re ineffective and exasperating at best, emotionally damaging and physically harmful at worst.

 

So this year, instead of dieting (and instead of setting totally unrealistic New Year’s resolutions) try something radical. Something much, much better. Try treating yourself and your body the same way you would treat someone you love—with respect, compassion, and loving care.

 

Ending the battle with weight is all about starting a healing relationship with yourself. You (absolutely, positively, and without a shadow of a doubt) have the power to transform your relationship with food, your hunger, and your body, truly. Life is way too short to spend another year, another week, or even another day at war with yourself.

 

newlifetooshort

 

Here are my top 4 reasons to ditch dieting this year (and forevermore), and what to do instead…

 

1. Diets don’t address the reasons why you struggle

Maybe you’re afraid of being “seen” and the extra weight is your excuse to stay in your comfort zone (FYI: Real change happens outside your comfort zone!). Or perhaps you turn to food to avoid feeling negative or strong emotions. Or you might be really sensitive and use the excess weight as a sort of armor to make you feel safe. Or maybe your weight issues are related to childhood abuse, abandonment, or other painful losses you experienced growing up, and for you food equals comfort and weight equals protection.

 

Diets don’t help you understand WHY you overeat in the first place, so they don’t get to the root of the issue. And without this vital information, you’re going to have a hard time.

 

Once you understand your fears, however, you can effectively work your way through them. And this will give you the psychological green light you need to lose the weight, for good. That’s why identifying and releasing your weight loss fears is a critical part of my Smaller Size Bigger Life program.

 

2. Diets encourage you to ignore your body’s wisdom

Feeding yourself according to external cuesthe clock, the amount of food on your plate, or a rigid dieting plangoes against your bodies’ natural instincts and internal wisdom. And if you skip meals or underfeed yourself, you trigger your primal drive to overeat.

 

The truth is this: Your perfectly designed body instinctively knows exactly what it needs to thrive and naturally reach its ideal weight—you just have to listen to it. Think of your hunger like a scale…

 

scalefinal

 

Once you reach a 1, 2, or 3 on the Hunger Scale (the Danger Zone), it’s nearly impossible to make mindful eating choices. And H-ANGRY is never, ever pretty. Plus, once you’re in the Danger Zone it’s way too easy to get to 10. It happens FAST.

 

As often as possible, eat in the Fuel Zone. Start eating at around a 4 or 5 and stop when you get to a 6 or 7. And if you find yourself eating when you’re in the Discovery Zone (a 7 or above on the scale), most likely you’re using food for emotional relief—to comfort, to reduce anxiety, or to reward. But this is just a habit and you can absolutely break it. Instead of feeding your feelings, take a few minutes and actually deal with them (I promise this is not as difficult as you might think).

 

The next time you have an intense emotional food craving, first take a few deep breathes and really acknowledge any accompanying feelings of fear, anxiety, or whatever. Once you make yourself aware of your feelings, simply say to yourself “I choose to feel peace instead.” Concentrate on your breathing and just repeat this mantra until you feel a little calmer. This begins a powerful new habit of releasing your fears instead of holding on to them.

 

Next, write out exactly what you are feeling (and why), or what you are trying NOT to feel (and why). And then do something else… something fun! Take a relaxing bath, call a friend, watch a favorite movie, whatever. By checking in with your hunger you’re rewiring your brain, so instead of…

 

Hunger = Eat

You are training yourself to think…

 

Physical Hunger = Eat

Emotional Hunger = Feel & Heal

 

Tuning in to what your body needs (instead of ignoring your hunger), builds trust, and learning how to get your emotional needs met (without eating) transforms your relationship with food. This is the opposite of what diets do, and this leads to long-lasting change and weight loss.

 

3. Diets don’t program your mind for success

We all have a set of memorized behaviors, emotional reactions, beliefs, and attitudes that run behind the scenes. This subconscious program determines how we live and make decisions on a moment-to-moment basis. And when you have beliefs and thoughts that don’t support your health goals, you end up constantly sabotaging yourself.

 

Plus, if you only consider yourself “worthy” or “good enough” when you eat less, weigh less, or stick to an unattainable set of dieting rules, you set yourself up for a never-ending cycle of self-hate and frustration.

 

Trying to lose weight without also changing your mind is a BIG weight loss mistake. On the other hand, if you shift your mindset from fear and guilt to acceptance and forgiveness while you implement healthy changes, you’ll fast track your success.

 

So what’s the best way to start shifting your mindset? Easy. Stop criticizing yourself. Accept and love yourself exactly as you are (yup, extra pounds and all!). This is the first step to making any change. You’re not giving up. You’re empowering yourself to feel good now so that you can take positive actions towards your goals with confidence.

 

Think about it this way: If criticizing yourself worked, you’d already be thin and happy, right? Learn more about shifting your beliefs HERE and HERE.

 

4. Diets keep you locked in food prison

Food is a seriously important part of self-care. One of the best ways to love yourself is to provide your body with nutrient-rich foods that make you feel and look your best. Food is also the universal connector—we all have to eat! We all celebrate with food, socialize with food, and fuel ourselves with food. Food is a life-giving necessity and eating should be fun and enjoyable.

 

Diets, however, make you feel like food is the enemy. Food restriction also triggers binge eating, increases anxiety, and slows your metabolism. Diets rob you of the pleasure of eating and keep you locked in a self-imposed food prison. But this year you can choose food freedom instead. It’s all up to you.

foodfreedom

Most people don’t expect their journey to health and lasting weight loss to be filled with joy and ease. Most expect struggle, sacrifice, and suffering, and so that’s exactly what they get. But the struggle does not move you forward in positive ways—it keeps you stuck and miserable.

 

In Smaller Size Bigger Life—my online weight loss program for women who struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, overeating, or body image issues—you’ll discover how to change with ease. You’ll release your weight loss blocks and learn how to lose the weight for good—no dieting, restriction, or self-hate required. The next class starts in early January. Find out more HERE.

 

Are you ready to stop dieting forever? In the comments below I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make 2015 your healthiest and happiest year yet.

With so much love,

Heather



JOIN 30,000 OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE GETTING HAPPY & HEALTHY


The Weight Loss Mistake You’re Probably Making

The biggest and most common weight loss mistake is trying to lose weight by ONLY changing what you eat.

 

Don’t get me wrong, changing what you eat is a crucial part of weight loss and healthy living, but before you change what you eat, you need to change how you think.

 

You need to deal with the voice (the hurtful and critical and annoying voice) inside your head.

 

The voice that constantly criticizes, compares, and judges yourself and others.

The voice that incessantly chews over the past and frantically frets about the future.

The voice that tells you you’re not good enough, not smart enough, or not strong enough to succeed.

 

You know that voice I’m talking about, right? It’s the voice that keeps you locked in patterns of anxiety and fear. And it’s the voice that sends you running to the kitchen even when you’re not hungry.

 

But the good news is this: You absolutely have the power to train this voice. We all do. And meditation is one the most powerful tools you can use to help you do exactly that.

 

I resisted meditation for a really long time. I thought it was too weird, or new age-y, or “woo-woo” for me.

 

But as I continued to wake up to the destructive mental patterns that kept me stuck in self-sabotage, every teacher, mentor, and coach I trusted and loved suggested I try meditation. And thank goodness I did!

 

Meditating not only helped me deal with my harsh inner critic and look at my struggles through a new lens, it also did wonders for my anxiety. For years I suffered from panic attacks, and once I started meditating, even just a few minutes a day, they magically (and mercifully) stopped.

 

I love this video from ABC News Correspondent Dan Harris. Harris was also a reluctant mediator, but after having a live, on-air panic attack on Good Morning America, he started searching for stress solutions. He decided he needed to make some serious changes in his life.

 

If you’re still on the fence about meditation, please watch this video…

 

 

Changing your diet without also changing your mind is a huge (HUGE) weight loss mistake. In fact, breaking through resistance, shifting your mindset, and releasing limiting emotions is the critical first step of my Smaller Size Bigger Life weight loss program.

 

Try this: Couple your lifestyle changes with Kelly Howell’s fantastic Slim Naturally Brain Sync program or her free guided meditation you can download here. You’ll imprint new beliefs that will immediately and positively impact your life and eating habits. Even just 10 minutes a day will make a big difference.

 

If you truly want to change your life you must first change your mind.

 

mindlife

 

So what do you think? Are you ready to give meditation a try? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And please let me know if you have any questions, I’m here to help.

Big hug,

Heather



JOIN 30,000 OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE GETTING HAPPY & HEALTHY


Five Must-Read Books To Lose Weight Without Dieting

SSBL 10

A few weeks ago I opened the doors to Smaller Size Bigger Life, an online training program for women who struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, overeating or body image issues, and the spots sold out in a just a few days!

 

But if for whatever reason you didn’t join Smaller Size Bigger Life, don’t worry. I’ll be opening enrollment again in early 2015 (you can jump on the waitlist HERE), and if you decide never to join, please know that there’s a TON you can do on your own.

 

Following is the Smaller Size Bigger Life reading list. These books are absolutely not about diets or deprivation.

 

Diets don’t help you understand why you overeat in the first place, so they don’t get to the root of the issue. Diets also don’t show you how to eat, or teach you how to form a healthy relationship with food and your body.

 

And without those CRITICAL missing pieces of the weight-loss puzzle, you’re going to struggle. Losing weight, improving your health, and living a happier and Bigger Life is all about…

 

1) Understanding WHY you overeat and treating yourself with love and kindness;

 

2) Learning HOW to eat intuitively and to trust and respect your body;

 

3) Discovering WHAT foods help you drop pounds, feel energized, and keep your soul-satisfied.

 

And the following books will help you do all of these. Start with the one (or two) that really resonate with you, and continue from there. Trust your heart to lead you to the next best step on your healing journey. (Pssst, if you’re reading this post you’re already on a healing path toward health and happiness!)

 

The Power Is Within You by Louise Hay

During the dark days of my own life (you can read my story here), Louise Hay was my guiding light. With so much compassion and a simple how-to approach, she taught me how to stop being a victim and to start living (and eating) from a place of love. All of her books are life changing, truly, but The Power Is Within You and You Can Heal Your Life are my absolute favorites.

 

The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

I’ve been working on this cookbook (I’m the Skinnytaste dietitian) with my dear friend Gina for the last few years, so I know just how awesome it is. Gina’s recipes are exactly what good food should be – clean, nutrient-loaded, and oh-so delicious.

 

Food Rules by Michael Pollan

“Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food.” Yup, it sure does! If you only read one book about nutrition, THIS is the one to read, period.


Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole

I’m a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and I’ve personally trained with dietitian Evelyn Tribole, so I know first-hand how powerful this approach is. Intuitive Eating teaches you to trust your hunger signals (the opposite of what diets do) and how to form a healthy relationship with food and your body.

 

How To Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

This fabulous little book by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh combines intuitive eating, mindfulness, clean eating, and clear thinking all into one simple and fun read. With everyday practical solutions, this book will show you how to nourish yourself, inside and out.

 

Remember, no matter how long you’ve traveled in the wrong direction, you always have the choice to turn around. It is never, ever too late.

 

turnaround

 

I’m a big book nerd and could recommend SO many more (check out the books in my picture above, and the ones on my Pinterest book board HERE), but theses five are a great place to start.

Sending you love,

Heather



JOIN 30,000 OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE GETTING HAPPY & HEALTHY