“Diet” is a four-letter word that finds its way into news headlines every day. Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 are just three current headline diets that will join many more that come and go each year. While it’s certainly not a bad thing to try and improve your eating habits to enhance your health and well-being, many people mistakenly believe that dieting is equivalent to healthy eating. But, as evidenced by the Anti-Diet movement, this could not be further from the truth.
What do we mean by “anti-diet?” Anti-diet RDN, Christy Harrison, writes on her blog that “Anti-diet does NOT mean anti-health … [it] means anti-diet culture.” She is referring to Western society’s obsession with “thinness … in all its sneaky, shape-shifting forms,” and how the rhetoric behind this concept speaks false narratives about how the way we look will improve our lives.
When we asked Paige Smathers, RDN and owner of Positive Nutrition, about the disconnect between dieting and healthy eating she explained, “Dieting is not health promoting at best, and can be really harmful at worst. Long term, the outcomes of dieting are weight gain, binge eating, and eating disorders. They’re not healthy, so we really need to do a lot of work to untangle those two terms from each other.” So, how can we untangle dieting from true health and adopt a healthier way of living? A great start is through a concept called Intuitive Eating.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating was first developed by dietitians Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole in 1995. The concept is guided by 10 principles designed to help you listen to your own body and its cues relating to your health. For some, intuitive eating comes naturally. For others, it can take years of unsuccessful diets and food rules to finally realize that diets don’t actually work. A middle ground between strict diets and eating uncontrollably does exist; it simply takes a shift in mindset to find it. When we allow ourselves to reject this diet mentality and start eating more intuitively, we can let our bodies find a balance with food.
Intuitive Eating helps us find variety and balance in our diet because we are getting adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and fiber. Our bodies need all of these things, contrary to what popular fad diets might tell you. These nutrients work together to help us feel better by increasing energy levels and improving our moods; and, because we’re eating intuitively, we won’t feel defeated when we do treat ourselves to a slice of cake. Through Intuitive Eating, you’ll feel like what you’re doing to promote your health, through nutrition, is more sustainable, and you’ll find peace with the thought of eating three meals a day and a couple snacks without restrictions.
Food is Energy
We eat food for energy, and it should be considered as fuel for our bodies. This means doing away with the labels we put on certain foods by calling them “good” or “bad.” As we adopt this mindset that food is fuel, it’s okay to then think, “I want to try and fit more veggies in today and have whole grains with each meal because it will make me feel better.” In fact, it’s actually healthy to think about incorporating more nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, fruits, and veggies into our day while practicing Intuitive Eating.
For example, whole grains provide a very good and balanced nutrient profile. When compared to enriched white flour, whole grain flour has fewer calories and carbohydrates and packs in more protein and dietary fiber. Additionally, whole grains offer more vitamins and minerals which are otherwise taken out during the refining process for an enriched grain.
When thinking about our food choices, Smathers says, “The closer your food is to how it comes in nature, the better you will feel. It will help you feel full, have more energy and, ultimately, allow food to do its job for you.”
Choose to be Healthier
Our mission at Kodiak Cakes is to inspire healthier eating and active living. We do this by crafting wholesome foods made with real ingredients. But we do not sacrifice taste to fit in with the crowd or create products specific to any popular diet. Instead, our products are made to support healthier food choices and encourage Intuitive Eating—which means that we can also have a brownie and feel good about it, too!