Diets do not work
We have all been there – countless diets, strict regimen or simply a myriad of rules that are hard to follow. It’s not surprising we give up. A couple of weeks of struggle, maybe even a few months, but that’s it. It becomes tiresome. Diets are simply not sustainable as our relationship with food remains unchanged. And there are so many of them that we get simply lost which is which.
Let’s remember all those times we tried calorie counting, maybe even some apps to write down your food diary or maybe some more strenuous fasting or detox programs. It sounded like a good and logical idea at the start, but our crazy rhythm of life together with our doubts that it would work make it all very stressful.
Who needs even more stress? We get it a lot from work, why adding such extra pressure on ourselves? Especially we all know they don’t really work…
Right, this is beginning to look like a rant on our current predicament. Yet is there a solution to this? Can mindfulness meditation be that effective tool for weight loss we all want?
Sustainable change, food habits and relationship with food
Let’s look at people who have managed to quit smoking and did it with ease. Is there a thing that unites them all? Think about pregnant women. They quit not because they necessarily want that, but because they know it’s better for their kid. They are out of their own mind and they think about a bigger picture.
What lies behind our weight problems? For starters, it is our insatiability and a sheer abundance of junk foods – refined white flour goods, injected with sugar and sweeteners, processed foods that we either take away or buy as ready meals, the list goes on. We are subjected to so much stimulation and stress that we don’t really stop to enjoy simple foods anymore – we need big flavours and sensations. Big Food companies use that to their benefit of course. Majority of our current foods that are neatly placed on the supermarket shelves are processed – they are loaded with salt and sugar, artificial flavourings, preservatives and adjustments.
Let’s go back to ancient times. We can hear Hippocrates saying ‘Let food be thy medicine’. It is that functional approach to food where we judge what to eat not by the colourful label or attractive smell, but by its nutritional content, by how many vitamin and minerals, it offers and also by fibre and other things we value in food. These are valuable because we live healthier and also happier when our bodies and minds get enough quality nutrients.
So the answer to the problem of dieting is that we should not just eat less of what we eat now, we should not simply list carbs or fats, we need to change our attitude to food in its entirety.
How do we talk to ourselves?
Let’s question our relationship to ourselves. Do we love ourselves? Do we think the way we talk to ourselves is coming from a view of kindness and compassion?
If we stop punish ourselves for whatever things we think we are lacking or failing, our relationship to ourselves becomes more harmonious. Yes, we do not hide behind the bush and we do not pretend we are perfect human beings. We are awake to our strengths and weaknesses too. We can be kind to ourselves when we recognize that we have done something wrong simply because that wasn’t our forte.
So coming back to our relationships, there is one that it’s in our head that dictates our food choices. If we change our relationship with food and start viewing it not from a hedonistic standpoint but from health and prevention of diseases, then it becomes very clear what to eat. It becomes easier to make choices, day by day, and without any guidance from this and that diet.
Ask yourself: is this food natural? Does it help me to be healthy? Will it have enough fibre to feed my gut bacteria. Will it keep me on the path to prevent possible illnesses rather than use drugs to reactively treat our diseases?
You will agree that it is easier and also the most cost effective to think about preventive nutrition rather than eat crap but then spend on doctors and medicines.
The more you cultivate your mind in this way it becomes easier to understand what’s important to all of us. These are, amongst other things, physical and mental health, harmonious relationships and peaceful living and joy. This is all possible when you simply re-kindle the spark with your own values and outlook on life. It makes your food choices so clear an so easy, you won’t believe how much time and effort you’ve spent on countless diets that were alien to you.
This is how mindfulness meditation may for your weight-loss goals too. Yet it’s more accurate to think about meditation techniques that help weight management as we all have different goals, be it getting lean or building muscle.
Nutrition of Nonviolence helps to change your relationship with food
When you are ready to treat yourself better, we have prepared a special course and instructions. We’ve called it Nutrition of Nonviolence. You start being nonviolent to yourself, but then it spreads – you become healthier, happier and you stop killing innocent animals too. Everybody wins. Read our nutrition of nonviolence for recommendations or head to our Courses page to download a free guide in pdf format.
Get back to us with your stories, what works for you and what doesn’t. Did meditation help you to change your relationship with food and manage weight? Have you started being more at ease with food? Discuss this all with us. We are here to help.