It’s time to look fear in the face
What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing you need to do. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
When a chronic dieter is confronted with the idea of living diet free, thoughts of freedom are rarely the primary response. Fear and a tremendous sense of the impossibility of giving up so much abounds.
When you delve deep down into it, the very thing we fear giving up, is the very thing that has given us fear. Any successful business first comes up with a problem that its main role is to solve. The diet industry found an easy target, you and me, and unfortunately my friend, we became the problem, or rather our less than perfect bodies became the problem.
Once upon a time we were all okay as we were. When clothes were required, people visited the dressmaker and their clothes were sown and all was well. With the rise of department stores, clothes started coming in sizes. People who had lived their lives oblivious of the measurements of others, now had a comparison. Sizes became a focus, were you a small, medium or large?
These tags became our labels, which we either wore with pride or shame. We started defining ourselves by them. People started judging the overweight, classifying them as lazy, as lacking in control, all because size was seen as an area that could, or rather, should be controlled. We have failed as a society to accept true size diversity. It bothers me so much that healthy role models are all buffed, skinny, lean people, and as a result, the quest for a healthy body is usually an attempt to make ourselves smaller.
The diet industry found an easy target in us. Women who are meant to be all different shapes and sizes, feel shame for looking the way we do. We feel pressured by societies warped, narrow definition of beauty to change the way we look. We struggle, we go on diets, we fail them, we feel unhappy and worthless, and the cycle continues. The solution; another diet disguised as a clean eating program that leads you back to- that’s right, failure.
We put ourselves through all of this torture, yet it’s the idea of never dieting again that fills us with the most fear. We fear we will lose the crutch of a friend we’ve come to rely upon so heavily, a friend with benefits so to speak, but really the relationship is totally one sided, our friend with benefits (the diet industry) already knows how the relationship will end; it’ll hurt us, but we’ll eventually come crawling back because we know no other way.
Or do we?
Don’t fear giving something up that only ever causes you suffering. Don’t let fear hold you back from a tremendous gain; freedom. Would you rather gain a couple of kilos giving it away, or live a lifetime where you always worry about food, count calories, weigh things, exercise excessively, have negative self-talk and low self-esteem, or would you rather take a chance on freedom from your persecutor?
I honestly believed when I stopped dieting, that I would be miserable. How would I deal with the inevitable weight gain of recovery? I felt I’d be happier continuing a life of dieting, but dieting was the thing that made me so miserable.
When I entered therapy and learned the truth about dieting and when I learnt the truth about will power, I was struck with a feeling I’d been played. I felt like I’d fallen for a fake truth, a truth that had been fed to me by the same industry that failed me.
I felt suddenly awakened, and I wondered why I hadn’t realised any of this sooner. Perhaps I hadn’t been ready to hear it.
I walked along the path towards freedom, a path without many footprints. Now that I’m here, I want to bring you with me.
Stop focusing on your weight goals and start focusing on health goals. You can be healthy and be a heavier weight, just as you can have a low weight and be significantly unhealthy.
Nearly 65% of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years. Diets don’t work.
Here are my top 5 tips for saying farewell to diets:
- Realise the truth. Diets are designed to fail. Anything that requires you to weigh, constantly monitor your food intake and restrict, will not provide you long term benefits. Finding a balance and learning how to accept your body, will find you wanting to treat it well. The fear you have that living diet free will mean you become glutinous is false.
- Restriction inevitably leads to bingeing or overeating. It’s the old chestnut, what you can’t have, you want the most. Instead of restricting, allow yourself to enjoy food, after all, enjoying ‘some’ of what you want, is far better than eating way too much when you finally give in to a craving on a diet!
- Start to see yourself as someone you love. To your children and those close to you, you are so much more than your looks, so much more than the numbers that appear on the scales. Start seeing yourself as the incredible human that you are. How do you want to be remembered at the end of your life? There lies your true self.
- Say kind things about yourself. You’ve treated yourself poorly for such a long time, called yourself fat, worthless, ugly. How did that go for you? Try looking in the mirror and focusing on your bodies capabilities. You’ll discover you are amazing.
- Don’t stop believing in what you can do. This is not a quick fix, this is a life change that will not only change your life, but the future for your children. Keep going, perfectly imperfect is perfectly fine.
If you would like to learn more, you can join the Mirror Movement here.
To read more about my story, click on this link.