The sneaky thing causing you to gain weight {without even realizing it!}

by | Nov 9, 2017 | BODY IMAGE, FOOD

I am willing to bet that you (yes, you!) may be dieting right now without realizing it.

Now hear me out.  I not talking about a Weight Watchers diet, a juice fast, or even a “low-carb” diet, although those are all forms of dieting.  I’m talking about other, sneaky ways of eating (or not eating) that are holding you back.

Ways of eating that, dare I say it, are causing you to overeat.

Ways that are causing you to weigh more than your natural, ideal weight.

And these sneaky dieting tools are tricky.  So tricky that you likely don’t even notice you are doing them.  They make you believe you are just being “healthy” and taking care of yourself.

Here’s a story to help you visualize.

I was talking with a client recently who shared with me that despite eating healthy and enjoying foods in moderation, she found herself coming home from work in the evening and eating high-carb and high-calorie food.

I asked her about the quantity of food she ate during the day and found that it was sufficient for her daily needs.  She wasn’t restricting herself physically by not eating enough.

So I started asking her what her favorite foods were.

Pizza, pasta, and cheese.

I asked her when the last time she had any of those foods were.  She couldn’t remember having any of them recently.

So we dove into talking about the types of foods she was eating at night, which included chips, sweets, and chocolate.  Within minutes, she discovered that none of the foods she was bingeing on at night were really her favorites.

I asked her how it would feel to eat more pizza, pasta, or cheese every day.  She hesitated.

“Those foods aren’t good for you, though. If I allowed myself to eat them, I probably wouldn’t be able to stop.”

Bingo.  This woman, despite eating “healthy” and enough food throughout the day, was bingeing at night because she wasn’t allowing her body to eat what it was craving.  If she wanted to eat pasta for lunch, she restrained herself, thinking that carbs are bad and not “healthy” enough.  And in response, she was going on evening binges after coming home from work.

This a perfect example of pseudo-dieting behavior.

Without purposefully restricting ourselves, we continue to hold food rules and make judgments about food, which can alter how we eat.

After encouraging this client to eat more pasta, pizza, or cheese when she was craving it, her night-time binges stopped almost instantly.  Of course we worked through some of the feelings she had about good and bad foods, but incorporating all foods (especially her favorites) was enough to stop the binges.

Psuedo-dieting can pop up anytime and generally is hard to notice completely by yourself.

Here are some ways you may be dieting without realizing it:

  • Counting carbohydrates or not eating something because it is “too high carb”
  • Avoiding “unhealthy” or “bad” foods (like the example above) and only eating foods you consider safe
  • Cutting back on eating (especially before a big event or after feeling “fat”)
  • Drinking coffee or diet-soda instead of eating when hungry
  • Becoming a vegetarian or gluten-free to lose weight
  • Comparing yourself or your eating habits to another dieter
  • Eating differently in public then you do when you are alone

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So what can you do?

Make an intention to become aware of all the ways you may be dieting without realizing it.

It wasn’t until I asked my client if she was incorporating her favorite foods, foods that she didn’t consider “safe”, into her meals that we discovered how to break her night-time binges.

Think about your own life.  Maybe there was something on that list that you related to.

Do you notice that you eat differently in public than by yourself?

Do you cut back on food before a big event?

Do you avoid certain foods because they are “unhealthy” or “bad”?

If the answer is yes, you may be holding yourself back and not living as freely around food as you deserve.

The solution?

Reject the diet mentality completely.  Learn to trust your body and it’s hunger and fullness cues.  Eat what you want, when you want it (again, this comes back to trust!).

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