Diets and weight loss programs are in FULL advertising mode. It feels pretty intense right now.
I understand the desire to lose weight and I’m not here to tell you to stop that desire (today). But I want you to think about the diet or weight loss program you are feeling draw to and look out for these red flags.
This is just straight up dangerous. Making someone feel shame for needing to take a break or like they’re weak for listening to their bodies is the opposite of the vibe we’re going for. All this does is increase the risk of injury and promotes an unhealthy connection between eating and exercise. You know that mandatory movement is to make sure you “earn” your dinner. But guess what… Your body needs energy even if all you did was lay in bed all day, and I doubt that’s what you’re doing most days. There is something called a resting or basal energy expenditure (REE/BEE). It’s a relatively simple calculation and I think you’d be surprised by how high yours would be. Mine is around 1600 calories/day if all I did was lay in bed, which I don’t.
🚩Omitting entire food groups
Again, straight up dangerous. There’s a reason nutrition guidelines suggest eating a variety of foods from different groups. Each group provides different macro and micronutrients to provide you with an overall balanced intake. When you omit an entire group you not only remove the macronutrients (ahem carbohydrates) but you also remove the micronutrients. Too often these diet programs that suggest this forget about the micronutrient balance and do not even attempt to suggest supplementation. In addition, each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates and fats) provides different benefits to your body and omitting one entirely or restricting significantly without addressing the lost benefits is unhealthy.
🚩Tracking macros to meet a specific amount
Ok so do you want to know why you’re so confused about what to eat? It’s because of this red flag… We’ve lived through the low fat and low carb diets. Surprisingly there hasn’t been a low protein one, maybe it’s coming? We’ve been told to eat vegetables and not eat vegetables and only eat certain kinds of vegetables and only raw vegetables with no dip. We’ve been told to eat whole grains for fibre but also grains are the worst and *allegedly* cause all sorts of diseases. FYI they don’t. There is so much fear mongering around what to eat when it comes to specific macro amounts. When in reality the recommendations are a pretty big range because everyone has different needs based on daily activities, spontaneous activities, and body composition.
This often piles on the I’m out of control feelings when you do eat outside your eating window, because life happens. Ok in some very unique cases this helps encourage people to find different coping mechanisms for emotional eating that happens at very specific times consistently. But only if they work on finding different coping mechanisms, otherwise it just results in the same behaviour with more guilt and shame piled on because you’re outside your eating window. Guess what? You can work on different coping mechanisms without limiting your eating window. You may even find your eating window changes as you create different coping mechanisms naturally without the arbitrary start and stop eating times or maybe the eating window doesn’t change but the behaviour you were trying to change with an eating window can change in other ways that doesn’t involve such rigid rules.
🚩Making you feel guilty for eating or not eating
If guilt is a free bonus of the program you’re thinking about, I’d unsubscribe. We get enough guilt, shame and stress just for being a parent and a woman. We already have impossible odds stacked against us with completely unrealistic expectations as how we show up in this world as a parent and a woman. I can point you to countless articles, blogs and videos telling women how they’re messing up for free instead of you paying a program to pile on the guilt. I mean this in a slightly sarcastic but also very real way. If the program you’re thinking about gives you hope but you also think it’s going to make you feel like a bad person for eating or not eating, it’s a huge red flag.
I don’t like to give people a list of don’ts without also sharing some do’s.
So here’s a small list of what to look for instead:
- Enjoyable movement
- Making peace with food
- Building you coping mechanisms
- Weight inclusive nutrition advice
- Community and support
To learn more about how to stop dieting and start enjoying food again check out the free training here.
With kindness and compassion,