Don’t Diet, Change Your Food Philosophy Instead

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Diets Don’t Work, But This Will

BY DR SARAH HUGHES

There are literally hundreds of ways to diet. Low carb diets, low fat diets, sugar free diets, macrobiotic diets (thanks Gwyneth), the lemon detox diet, the 5:2 diet, the HCG diet…the list goes on and on…and on.

No food is 'bad' - instead see food as everyday and sometimes foods

No food is ‘bad’ there’s only everyday and sometimes foods

Here’s what they all have in common. Each of these diets “guarantees” weight loss. None of these diets actually work. All of these diets will make you feel bad.

Here’s the thing, as soon as you start dieting your head kicks into weight loss mode. Food stops being an energy source and starts being something that has the power to make you gain or lose weight. Calorie math drives your food choices, and foods become “good” and “bad” (sort of like a dietary naughty and nice list).

Eat “good” foods and you feel strong, healthy, and in control. Eat “bad” foods and you’re hit with anxiety, guilt, and self-loathing.

But here’s the thing. There aren’t good and bad foods – it’s all just food.

Food is fuel. Sure, some foods offer your body a better, longer lasting source of fuel, but foods that offer a poorer source of energy aren’t “bad”.

Take complex carbohydrates for example. Because they have a complex structure, complex carbs are broken down more slowly making them a longer-lasting source of energy for the body. Simple carbohydrates on the other hand are simple sugars with a chemical structure of only one or two sugars. The body breaks simple sugars into glucose quickly and easily, so most simple carbohydrates provide the body with only a short, quick burst of energy.

If you eat simple carbohydrates – think chocolate, lollies, soft drink – sometimes, and not at every meal, simple carbohydrates are not bad for you. They might not provide as great an energy source for your body as complex carbohydrates, but when eaten in moderation they’re not“bad” foods.

Food is just food. Break free from the diet cycle. Change your food philosophy. Stop seeing food as something you can use to control your weight and start seeing it for what it is – something that fuels your body. Fuel your body well.

Dr. Sarah Hughes is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and challenging behaviour.


 

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