Think the problem is you?
I used to think the “problem was me” too and my phone call yesterday with an old colleague brought it all back.
We reminisced about our post “tax busy-season” dieting routine. Each year we’d try the latest magazine “summer body” diet in a desperate attempt to undo all the stress eating that got us through the last 3 months of the busy season leading up to tax filing deadlines. Why we tortured ourselves with this extreme dieting (which was a dead-end approach that was NEVER successful) baffles me now, but yesterday I remembered exactly how I used to feel…
I was so used to having a plan tell me what to eat and when to eat it, so I would go from diet to diet trying to find the right fit, which of course didn’t work. In my mind, I needed that step-by-step program that would be the magic bullet for me.
I know it’s crazy now, and even at the time I knew it was crazy talk, but it was my safety net.
I figured I was just missing that “skinny” gene, and I needed to compensate by being overly regimented with what I ate. I just didn’t trust myself to make the right combination of choices because I wasn’t skinny and hadn’t had success before…
Now I know better, but back then I thought I could lose weight and “undo” bad food choices with a couple months of dieting. I, like the majority of us, was going about it all wrong. Here are some enlightening statistics:
- The average woman goes on 4-5 diets each year.
- Over the course of a lifetime, the average woman has tried over 62 diets.
- AND the average woman has a 98% failure rate here!
Still think the problem is YOU? Your lack of willpower? You just haven’t found the diet that works for you?
Think about it this way – if you were in a class where you and 98% of your classmates failed – do you think that the problem is you? Or do you think the material needs to be taught a different way? Do you think the problem is you or that you just haven’t found the right diet?
No! And yet this is exactly what we do when it comes to diets and the diet mentality. Logically, we’re on board with the fact that diets aren’t good or that they don’t work – but in our moments of weakness or those bad days when we’re fed up (and because the diet industry has some of the best marketers in the world) – it’s tough. I believed it would be different this time. I believed I wouldn’t fall off again because I wanted it so desperately to work! They seem like the perfect fix, but I want to shut their appeal down. Period.
I promise you, you don’t need a diet to tell you what to eat.
But you DO have to put a little trust back into yourself and your body. Your body was designed to be healthy and furthermore it wants to be healthy. Once I went from searching for answers in a diet book to uncovering answers listening to my own body, everything changed.
Instead of obsessing about my portions and making sure they matched the diet, I learned how much it took to make me feel satiated. Instead of counting down the time until my next diet scheduled meal, I learned to eat when I’m actually hungry. Instead of binging the day after my diet ended, I learned to indulge in a healthy way. And most important of all – instead of eating to comfort myself and numb the stress, I learned to give my body what it’s actually asking for!
The first step in letting go of YOUR diet safety net is learning to trust your body.
If this sounds crazy to you (how can you trust your body if it’s hanging onto extra weight), then start small! One of the easiest places to start is becoming more aware and mindful during meals. Take time and eat one meal without distractions – pay attention to the smell and taste of your food, chew each bite more than you normally would. Eat slowly and notice how your stomach feels.
I know, I know this isn’t earth-shattering new information, but that’s the thing! Losing weight and letting go of that diet safety net doesn’t require earth-shattering changes. There is no magic bullet diet out there, and the sooner we shut down the appeal of diets, the faster we’ll achieve the changes we want.
The problem is NOT you, diets are flawed. What can you do to let go of your diet safety net and listen to your body more?