Why you should never follow a diet plan invented by a man!
Well for a start, dieting is a male approach to weight loss in the first place. If I had a 1$ for every man who said, ‘I don’t know what the problem is, it’s simple, just eat less and exercise more’. Yes, you didn’t really know what the problem is. There is a reason 95% of diets what don’t work long term. Though men’s chances are slighter better. The male approach to weight loss is quite different from what women need to resolve their eating ‘issues’. It’s well known the male brain is wired for logical problem solving, i.e. fixing problems. And that’s one of the first traps, seeing your body, extra weight and yourself as a problem to be fixed, instead of something to be deeply understood and appreciated.
Perhaps I shouldn’t say men, but rather the masculine approach to weight loss. Marc David, founder of the Institute of the Psychology of Eating lists masculine approaches to weight-loss as being: Intensive exercise, food restriction, counting and limiting fat grams, no pain, no gain, will-power – resisting food, measure of success – the number on the scale, motivation, and the goal being what is important, not the journey.
Most diets rely on this way of approaching weight loss. And for most women they experience these aspects as punishing, self-esteem destroying, soul less, and counter-productive. Every failed diet, leaves the dieter themselves feeling like a failure. Even though the statistics prove that dieting doesn’t work, we don’t question the basic diet approach, we question ourselves. If I just had more will power, more self-love, more ….
Each new diet is started with great hope, reading the success stories of those before you, (who took their photos just before the weight returned), you believe this time it will work because you are soooo motivated and because this diet plan is so intelligent, convenient, logical, effective.
And of course they do ‘work’ as long as you follow them! But that’s the problem, going on a diet is like putting yourself in a self-imposed prison. You believe you need it, because you can’t possibly trust yourself to be free and rely on your appetite and sound judgement. You know you are a naughty girl who just wants to eat naughty food all the time, so this is the only possibly way to take back control from this inner monster. But just like prison doesn’t generally create fundamental change in the prisoner. Putting yourself in a diet prison doesn’t fundamentally change your attitude towards your body, food and yourself.
The raw vegan diet, intermittent fasting, keto, raw to 4, are often touted as ‘not a diet’, but a ‘lifestyle’. And this may be true, if they are done naturally, without will-power, and are sustainable long-term for your life without feeling like you are in a prison. But if you find yourself jumping on the scale regularly to check out the results of your ‘lifestyle’ and being disappointed and then feeling deprived when you aren’t getting the body you expected, chances are you are just on another diet.
And if you are in a diet prison, rest assured that at some point, you will break out, and then won’t want to go back inside for a long time. The compulsion to break out has both a physiological and psychological basis, but the cycle of putting yourself in a diet prison, breaking out, promising to get back in, eventually getting back in, enjoying the false sense of freedom and results, feeling deprived, breaking out, guilt, weight gain, etc can go on for literally a lifetime.
So, if we know the masculine approach of dieting based on hard exercise, portion control and will power doesn’t work long term and is particularly harmful for women, what is the feminine approach to weight-loss.
Again, from Marc David: Movement rather than exercise, finding your natural appetite, receiving pleasure from food, letting go of the scales, embracing the fullness of the journey, self-love rather than motivation from self-loathing, embodiment now.
The goal seeking impatient part of your brain, will fear that this type of list will not get to your goal in a short amount of time if ever. And you might be right. People makes jokes about how men shop and women shop. The man going directly to the shop and buying the item required, the woman exploring the whole mall, finding a few things she needed which we hadn’t thought of, and eventually deciding she didn’t even need the item she came for, but had a thoroughly great time in the process.
When you make weight loss a goal rather than a by-product, you’ve lost!
If you learn to enjoy being truly alive in your body, moving your body, enjoying food without guilt, savoring the flavors and textures, feeling your fullness and emptiness, slowing down, and find true pleasure and passion in all aspects of living, facing your feelings of boredom, fear, loneliness, then at some point, maybe, you will look down, not at the scale, but at your shrinking frame, and notice for a moment, that indeed your weight is reducing , but because you’re having such a great time enjoying the journey of being you, that the weight loss, amazingly has become ‘no big deal’.