I don't really like the word "diet" because of its association with various types of restrictive ways of eating and mindsets. However, I do use the word here with the meaning of 'way of eating' or 'what you eat'. So, how do you gain control of what you eat? Although there are many steps within each of these stages, I have summarised here the nutrition journey I personally believe is the most effective way of gaining that control...
One of the first steps of gaining control of any situation is understanding the situation. Many people's dietary lifestyle is on auto-pilot, they may not know how much they're eating, what is in the food, or they may be overriding hunger signals with mental distraction, routine and habit plus many other reasons. Awareness is giving 100% attention to the experience of food/eating, switching on manual mode means being more mindful and thoughtful.
2. GETTING TO KNOW THE ROLE OF FOOD
It sounds silly, but hear me out. I don't simply mean that food is to fill you up when you are hungry or to give you fuel. (of course it does) But getting to know how the different kinds of food nourish your body in different ways. Without getting too technical, I think it's not only beneficial but is pivotal for everyone to understand why vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and macronutrients are good for you and what they provide the body to help it function optimally. Key takeaway here is knowledge is power - and empowerment!
3. YOU LISTEN & YOU DECIDE
This is where you can exercise the awareness and knowledge you have gained to help you make the right choices for you! Awareness will allow you to listen to what your body is genuinely craving / feeling / lacking and your knowledge will allow you to interpret that in order to make the most appropriate food choice to support what your body needs. That does not mean you'll never have [insert what you think is "less healthy"] but it gives you the control of when, how much and why you are having those foods.
Through my online coaching, I work through these different stages to help clients achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle. It is an investment of time and effort in order to be eventually freed from dieting, but be able to find a way of eating or eating lifestyle that feels great for your body and mind!