5 Ways Dieting Wastes Your Time

Dieting wastes so much of your precious time. From the amount of effort it requires to track your food and follow their rules. To over-thinking your food choices and body checking. Keep reading to see the 5 ways your diet is distracting you from your life’s purpose.

Starting a new diet feels empowering, doesn’t it? After feeling like you’re stuck in a slump, you sign up for a new diet/lifestyle program. It’s exciting to feel like you’re taking big steps towards better health. Reining in your nutrition and getting your act together. But what initially feels proactive, quickly becomes a time-suck. And before you know it, you’re wasting significant amounts of time on…

#1: Measuring & Tracking Food

Whether you’re on a program that’s based on calories, macros, or Points—the goal is the same. Track every bite to ensure you don’t “over-eat.” This causes you to spend time measuring out all your food.

1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 11 almonds, 3/4 cup green beans, 4 oz chicken, 8 grapes, 6.5 potato chips…

Soon you’re buying extra measuring cups and spoons since they always seem to be dirty when you need them again. Then you spend a significant amount looking up each individual food in your food tracking app’s database. Some have fake information put in by other users. And you worry about accidentally selecting one with an incorrect macro breakdown. Or you find the food with the green checkmark signifying that it’s been confirmed by the food manufacturer. But, then you see their breakdown of measurements doesn’t match what you measured out. Next thing you know, 20 minutes has passed and your food is cold. Or, you barely remember eating it because you were so distracted by tracking.

Maybe you think you’ve outsmarted that scenario though. You now pre-track all your macros the night before. It requires a lot of guesstimating portions and manipulating the various amounts. Or you just keep eating the same “safe” foods over and over again to cut down the time spent tracking. Either way, you’ve dedicated a lot of time to this app.

Food measuring, tracking and dieting wastes your time no matter how you look at it.

Need help weaning yourself off your food tracking app? Read this post here to learn how.

#2: Body Checking for Results

Body Checking can appear in a variety of ways. Including stepping on a scale or using measurement tape to see if you’ve lost or gained weight/inches. Trying on specific clothes to see how they fit. Looking at yourself from various angles in the mirror to see if you’re looking “fat” or “thin” today. And/or pinching a body part (commonly stomach, thighs, and arms) to see if there’s less or more of it than last time.

Not only does the actual act of body checking waste your time. But it’s also the time and energy wasted on the “results” of that check. Feeling disappointed or disgusted by what you’ve found can sour your whole day. Being pleasantly surprised that you don’t look bloated today, might result in you being afraid to eat. Because it will “ruin” the effect of your sleeker stomach.

Body checking is a very serious concern. As it can trigger disordered eating, eating disorders, and support the narrative that your diet is “working.” Or you’re “failing” to get the results you want.

#3 Constant Thoughts About Food

When you have macro goals or calorie limits to meet, it can overtake the majority of your thoughts.

When will I eat? What can I eat? How much can I eat? I’m still hungry…do I have enough calories left for this food I want?

Throw in a social event or unexpected change of plans and it becomes: What will be on plan? Do I have enough macros/calories/Points to order the meal I really want? Maybe I could workout extra tomorrow to balance out this treat? Should I bring my own food? If dinner ends up too late, will I be outside my eating window? What’s more important: hitting my macros or following my intermittent fasting rules?

#4 Anxiety and/or Guilt About Food

Dieting creates self-doubt, anxiety, and guilt around food. We question a basic physiological need like eating, because of diet rules. This is where the psychology of dieting runs deep. And it can be dark. It’s the threshold of eating disorders and disordered eating. The amount of time dieting wastes expands dramatically here.

Because the self-doubt, anxiety and guilt isn’t contained to just food. We begin to apply this negative self-talk to other aspects of our life too. We lose confidence in our decisions. And we become accustom to looking at external factors (like food tracking apps and meal plans) to tell us what to do. Next thing we know, we question decisions in our parenting, jobs and relationships. The time we then spend on questioning our instincts—and feeling anxiety and guilt for our choices—can overtake our thoughts.

#5 Wasting Time Comparing Our Dieting Results to Others’ Results

Particularly when you’re consumed with the first 4 ways that dieting wastes your time, you are more likely to deal with comparison. If you already feel stress from spending so much time measuring, tracking, body checking, thinking about food, and feeling anxious. You are prime for allowing comparison to enhance the narrative that you’re less-than. It can be as innocent as seeing someone else share their before/after photos on social media. It is likely even a stranger. Or maybe just someone in your accountability group. Comparison can further spiral you into self-deprecating feelings of shame, anxiety and guilt.

Dieting Wastes Your Time & Prevents You From Living Your Purpose

It’s a never-ending cycle. We feel like a failure, so we (re)start a diet. Ironically ignoring the reasons that we feel like a failure is because dieting wastes our time. The diet mentality causes us to constantly question our own God-given intuition. And keeps up from living our true purpose.

Think about what you could do with your time instead! When you free yourself from the shackles of diet culture and embrace your own intuition, you will be quicker to know what is meant for you. How you’re supposed to spend your time. What gives you fulfillment. And what your true calling is.

When you stop thinking about food as a means to lose, gain or maintain weight, you are free to make your own choices. Just as the self-doubt created by diets causes you to question your every move. The self-trust you create by living diet-free causes you to have confidence in your overall life.

Ready to Start Diet-Free Living?

You don’t have to stay a victim of diet culture. Download my free 34-page guide to get started living a diet-free life today.

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Originally seen on loveyourselftowardshealthy.com, the 5 ways dieting wastes your time and distracts you from your life's true purpose

Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an anti-diet nutritionist at Love Yourself Towards Healthy where she helps chronic dieters heal their relationship with food, fitness and body image by ditching diet culture and finding freedom in their God-given intuition. Focusing on behavioral change and Intuitive Eating, Meridith helps her clients unlearn diet culture, stop negative self-talk and set wellness goals---not appearance goals. Follow Meridith at @loveyourself2healthy on all social channels.

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