Most of us humans are taught to equate food with success, we view food as a reward from a very young age. So each time we exercise or managed to deliver a project on time we indulge ourselves in a big scoop of ice cream cause we feel like we've earned it. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with eating ice cream every now and then, as long as its a conscious decision, as long as we don't feed this mechanism of rewarding ourselves with food.
On the other opposite is associating food with guilt - 'I don't deserve eating x because I didn't meet my expectations with y'.
*If you are reading this I am quite certain you have struggled with your relationship with food at least at one point in your life.
Once we've established an unhealthy relationship with food and we forget and neglect the main role of food- nourishment, and we turn into the common solution- dieting. This creates an even more vicious cycle, which worsens your relationship with food- you learn to cut out food groups, demonise desserts and say no to eating out.
No diet had ever worked for more than 2% of the population, this is why:
Usually dieters tend to deprive themselves. Depravation causes the body to produce less serotonin, which is a chemical our body produces to keep us in a general good mood and is essential for metabolic function. Our body is wired from ancient times when we lived outdoors and had to go through long winters without eating to go into survival mode. Our body doesn't know we are dieting, thanks to our biochemistry and our genes our body thinks its gonna be a long winter and its time to start storing fat. If our body is in a survival mode every time we eat the energy we take from our food will be used to storing fat rather than to the brain, cells and other functions of the body, which then creates even more hunger and cravings.
Diets depend on willpower, willpower is limited. When we fail in our diet it creates even more guilt, frustration and confusion.
Lack in nutrients - by limiting big food groups we often prevent our body from having all the essential nutrients it needs. So the body sends signals to the brain in the form of food cravings to compensate for what its missing.
Fat is essential. Our brain in 65% fat and required healthy fats to function. Fat also turns off the hunger switch.
Dieters tend ignore their own bio-individual needs – the diet that works for your best friend may not work for you. There is no one diet fits all.
Whats the solution? The secret is getting in touch with your physical needs and emotions:
Learn to tune in to your body and acknowledge when its full, when it needs certain food and what kind of exercise it's craving.
Be mindful and notice how you feel eating different foods.
Reduce stress (yoga, meditation..) so your body doesn't go into survival mode.
Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation makes it hard to listen to your bodies signals.
Find a way of moving you love and enjoy.
Nourish yourself on other levels which are deeper than food - satisfying career, relationships, hobbies, spirituality.
Keep it simple!