Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Diets fuel temptation.
Mark Twain may have said it best when he quipped, “To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.” We’re really no different than Adam and Eve, so making certain foods forbidden sets us up for failure. In reality, we can enjoy a variety of foods and still achieve good health.
Dieting leads to preoccupation with food.
We want food to be back in its rightful place – a tool for nourishment. Dieting causing us to always be thinking about food. Whether we’re planning our next meal or longing for something we’re not supposed to have, we end up consumed by thoughts of food. This is the opposite of what we hope to achieve. Ideally, food would be neutral and lose its power to tempt and control us.
Diets lead to hunger.
Think about how you behave when you’re hungry? Is it your best self? While the author is unknown, there is great truth in the quote, “The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humor.” We shouldn’t be starving ourselves to achieve a certain weight. God intended us to use food as fuel. Yes, we may need to reset our internal hunger cues, but diets aren’t the best way to do so.
Diets distort our view of food.
God’s goal is not for us to be thin. We often focus on the outcome we want to achieve without considering the blessing of food. We begin to label foods as good or bad. In doing so, we often begin to believe that food is the enemy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that food is good. But it shouldn’t become an idol that is all consuming in our thoughts or actions.
Diets often mean enduring foods you may not like.
God was extremely creative in foods he created for us. There’s an abundance of texture, color and taste – we should learn to focus on delighting in the variety of God’s creation. Yes, we may need to expand our palette, but we don’t need to simply endure the foods we eat. We should enjoy them and learn to savor them by eating slowly and stopping before we’re full.
So, what exactly is a non-dieting approach to achieving a healthy weight? There are several key tenets. First, food is neutral. There’s no good food or bad food list. All foods are acceptable. Second, we respond to hunger, not try to suppress it. Third, there’s a “move more” mentality. A non-dieting approach to weight loss may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually much more likely to result in long-term success. Not just as measured on the scale, but as seen in our thought life and the health choices we make. Our ultimate goal is health, not a number on a scale. By relying on intuitive eating, recognizing hunger cues and being mindful and present when we eat, we can feel better, increase our energy level, and achieve our natural weight without feeling deprived.
(Note: there are times, due to health conditions, that specific diets are needed. Examples include heart healthy diets, low sodium diets, diabetic diets, and many others. By all means, follow your health provider’s recommendations.) Good luck!