Why you should stop restrictive dieting and punishing exercise regimes to be and feel healthy

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Many people wish they were ‘healthy’. Many people want to ‘eat better’ and ‘exercise more’ because they feel that is what they should do. As a result they decide to go on restrictive diets and punishing exercise regimes which may help in the short-term, but are really counter-productive in the long-term particularly if you cycle through this pattern of being ‘good’ and being ‘bad’ for years on end. With each new diet and with each renewed intention of really making it work this time round, most people are too ambitious, want too much at once, don’t consider the long game and end up feeling disappointed in themselves, a failure, lose self-esteem and belief in themselves. Add the societal and media pressure on what ‘sexy’ or ‘healthy’ is supposed to be, the cumulative result of all that conditioning and negative thinking about themselves are:

Body image issues and a skewed relationship with food.

Thought processes like:

• I will never look like her
• I have a slow metabolism so there is just nothing I can do about it
• This dress makes me look fat
• If they had such a stressful lifestyle as me, they would not have such a body
• I should not eat this
• I should work out really hard and 5 times a week
• I am such a failure for eating more than salad for dinner again
• She is definitely anorexic
• I wish I could eat like this and stay thin
• I eat too much
• …

… are the new normal.

All these thought processes are characterized by:

• Black and white thinking
• Comparisons where one always falls short compared to someone else
• Unrealistic expectations towards oneself
• Skewed judgement and decision making about oneself

Instead of getting ‘healthier’ what happens is that many people actually do not manage to achieve their physical health goals at all. Indeed, most people are actually getting worse. Not just in their thinking about themselves, but also about their choices for food. One day, they limit themselves to low calorie and just vegetables, another day they go for sugary foods that are high in unhealthy fats and low in nutrients. This has a direct impact on how your body is processing and storing nutrients causing hormone imbalances, weight gain and other issues that impact long-term health negatively.

So, what to do?

Simple: stop dieting and anything you feel you should do to be healthier. Start becoming aware of how you think about yourself and about food. Observe the way you act and think around yourself and food with no judgement, like a scientist collecting facts. Is it really true that you are eating too much? Does eating pizza once a week really make you a failure? Do you really know enough about the thin neighbour to compare yourself to her?

And then see what happen. See what will unfold in your life. Watch the magic happen.

Looking at yourself in such depth may not always be easy, but let me tell you that it is absolutely worth your while. You will start looking at yourself in a different light. You will recognize what is holding you back by acknowledging all those things that you would rather hide about yourself. And you will start learning to celebrate your body and yourself. Side effect: you will feel more energy, lose weight effortlessly, stop seeing food as an enemy and you will see life in a completely different light again.

Quite frankly, I cannot wait to watch you bloom. Here is to you and your success, beautiful! 

Imagecredit: http://www.pixabay.com

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