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Why You Should Stop Dieting for Good!
Health and Fitness

Why You Should Stop Dieting for Good!

Let’s face it, the expectations for moms are impossible to live up to. 

Whether the expectations are set by society or by ourselves, they are endless! Here’s the one I want to convince you to let go of: you need diet and lose weight.

Diets don't work!

If they did, why are there so many and why do so many people go on and off them all the time? Not being able to follow a diet long-term has nothing to do with something you’re doing wrong or your willpower--it has everything to do with your body trying to survive! 

I could write an entire blog on this topic alone. When you are dieting, you are depriving yourself of what your body needs to operate efficiently. You become more and more hungry and think about food all day because your body is telling you what it needs. As you continue to ignore your body’s cues, they get louder and louder and harder to ignore.

Eventually, people can’t ignore the hunger cues and break the diet.. This leads to lowered self-confidence because it makes you feel like there is something wrong with you.

You didn’t fail your diet, your diet failed you! 

All diets are meant to fail, they aren't sustainable forever! At some point you will go off the diet. If you don’t believe me, think about this: will you continue to follow your keto diet when you’re eighty and in a nursing home? “Sorry, no cookie for me today, I’m on diet.” 

Our kids pick up on our beliefs and behaviors.

This includes our beliefs and behaviors about food and weight. When we call some foods “junk food”, our kids start to make the connection that some foods are “good” and some are “bad.” And when our kids eat a food that was deemed “bad” by us, they might start feeling bad about themselves the same way we do. 

If we eliminate carbs to lose weight, our kids likely will do the same if/when they start feeling self-conscious about their bodies. When we say, “I’m so fat and have gained so much weight. I need to diet and lose it”, our kids make the connection that bigger body sizes are “bad” and eating less will keep your body small and “good.” 

I’m not saying eat cake and donuts all day and don’t make any comments about food or weight around your kids, I'm saying be aware of your beliefs about food and your body, because our kids are aware of them and learn so much from you.

There’s no such thing as the perfect mom! You are going to slip up from time to time. Even I slip up sometimes because I spent the first 29 years of my life being surrounded by diet culture messages and the idea that thin was good and fat was bad. You have to practice un-brainwashing yourself from diet culture messages and images. As a mom, just being aware of your overall message is what’s important here!

Our kids are only little once

Making memories with them while they are still so young is one of the fun parts about being a mom--do you want to spend this time at the gym and feeling hangry all the time? 

Sometimes getting away from the kids and going to the gym can be some much-needed stress relief and self-care--nothing wrong with that! Moms need time away from the kids too, but I’m talking about missing out on big chunks of time with your family because you feel the pressure to lose weight. I’m talking about going to the gym out of fear you will gain weight and hating every minute you are there. I'm talking about knowing you hate it, but feeling guilty if you don’t go. This is NOT self-care, and is honestly not healthy.

Another thing to ask yourself is: how do you feel when you’re dieting? Most people feel more irritable and tired because your body is reminding you to eat over and over. It’s hard enough being a mom when you’re not starving and even harder when you are. There may be some of you that read this and thought, “Well, I do need to lose weight because I will feel better about myself and hove more confidence if I do.”

And here’s my next set of questions:

- Have you ever felt good about your body?

- Have you spent most of your life on a diet and trying to lose weight?

- Do you truly believe that a smaller body will bring happiness?

- Clearly there is societal scorn for people in larger bodies, but is that societal scorn deserved?

- Can everyone lose weight if they just try harder?

- Lastly, do you think maybe ideal beauty standards are set too high?

- Are they even realistic?

- Do you want to keep chasing them forever?

You can be healthy, eat the foods you truly enjoy, be a good food role model for your kids and love your body as it is. I’m telling you, this life exists! Don’t let unrealistic diet culture messages tell you otherwise. You are already enough as you are!

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Brittany W

Brittany Woodard is a registered dietitian nutritionist and married mom of two little girls, Kyrah and Luna. She works with moms that are looking to feel confident about their postpartum body and find food freedom! She uses and teaches simple mindset changing skills based in cognitive behavioral therapy to help moms change the way they think about food and their bodies.
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