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Restrictive Diets vs. Informed Dieting

Dieting has become so popular that it seems like I know someone who is on a diet of some sorts. While allergies can play a role in what choices you make in regards to your food intake, most of us make decisions based on clever sales tactics from the social media platforms, enthusiasts that claim it’s worked for them and some misinformed medical professionals who assert they have it all together.

The truth is there isn’t a one size fits all “diet” out there. Not everyone will receive the benefits of a keto, paleo, vegetarian, low carb, low fat, sugar free, intermittent fasting, detox, gluten free, dairy free, etc. diet. Listening to what others are promoting has little effect on it working for you. This is called restrictive eating.

Restrictive Eating

Restrictive eating is telling yourself you “can’t” have this or “shouldn’t ” eat that based on what everyone else is selling you. Restrictive eating messes with the cortisol and growth hormones in your body that ultimately make you want that food even more because you “can’t” have it. I’m not talking about allergies, I’m talking about the choices that we make because the most popular celebrities are promoting it, or your best friend from high school is improving her health and sharing it with the world on every social media platform. Restrictive eating often leaves your body depleted of important nutrients and minerals. Restrictive eating creates an unhealthy relationship with food, which is essential to our existence. Restrictive eating can also create social barriers as you refuse to eat others offerings or become judgmental towards what others are choosing to eat.

Informed Eating

Informed eating is a journey of listening to your body. It’s not listening to your brain, but your body. Let me share the difference. Your brain thrives on increasing the “feel good” hormones, even if it doesn’t make the best choice in doing so. For example, the brain loves addiction of any kind and it’s harmful to your health simply because you aren’t displaying command of your brain. Listening to your body takes time and skill, of which a lot of people aren’t willing to commit to for THEIR own good! Let me give you an example from my life…


I love bread! I mean LOVE it! I could literally sit on the couch with a whole loaf of French bread and eat it without thinking twice, UNTIL I learned to listen to my body. I wasn’t willing to listen to the discomfort that followed, nor was I willing to make any changes. I want to help you understand what I did about it. I HAVE NOT taken bread out of my diet, however, I have made informed decisions about the consequences that could result if I ate the whole loaf. Now instead of questioning, I know exactly why I feel rotten or why I feel great when given the opportunity to indulge.

My point is, EVERYONE’S body is different BUT there is a diet that fits everyone. Wait for it…

No More “Dieting”

It’s called the informed diet! Not intuitive eating, not restrictive diets, not overloading or cutting out. It’s listening to your body and knowing how to care for it. BUT IT’S NOT EASY!

MODERATION is key to nutritional success. With an informed eating diet, it becomes your lifestyle and your choices are more congruent with how you feel, not how you look to others. Your emotions are regulated better, not suffering from indulging in some “bad” food that others have deemed “bad”. You learn to appreciate how food works for you in increasing your energy.

My charge to YOU

Clean up the habit of restrictive dieting. Clean up the habit of eating too much food. Clean up the habit of calling food “good” or bad”. Stand up and be a healthier YOU by truly listening to what your body needs and how it reacts to those foods. Be honest with yourself!

We should be seeking a way of life that will increase our ability to perform all that we desire with energy and health.

Diana Smithson is Owner of Stronger Today Fitness, a Small Group/Personal Training Studio in Surprise, AZ. Her passion for Fitness and Health creates excitement and encouragement to all she trains with. She enjoys being in the mountains, hanging with her family and sleeping.

Originally printed on strongertodayfitness.com. Reprinted with permission.

MFN Contributing Author

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