After reading yet another blog about how diets don’t work, and how the success rates are pitifully low, and that most people end up fatter than they were to begin with, and those successful people probably weren’t fat anyway, and quite frankly feeling utterly deflated, I felt compelled to write.
I used to be encouraged by that sort of article. It wasn’t me failing the diet, it was the diet failing me. Putting expectations and ideals upon me, that were humanly impossible. Every time I lost, the inevitable gain would follow, and I would be bigger each time.
Because I was pinning all my hopes onto a diet to permanently change me. I was hoping for the miracle weight loss maintenance. Suddenly I would no longer desire all the fattening food. I would forever live on lettuce and jacket potatoes. Because I would want to. Because being slim was such a wonderful thing, and the diet was so easy.
Stepping off the dieting treadmill, I learnt some valuable things. Self love and self worth, for instance, are far bigger motivators than any diet guru. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is a great big ball of crap. A bottle of red wine and a big bowl of chips taste far better than skinny feels, when you’ve had a crap day and want to unwind. But food doesn’t heal the crap day, or remove the feelings weighing me down. Acknowledging the feelings, wondering about the feelings, and doing practical things to deal with them, is far far more effective than food. It’s something I’m still working on, like when my house becomes such an overwhelming mess, making small steps to tidy the areas I can is far more effective than sitting and wallowing. (Even getting up and going for a work can work its magic, at least I’m away from the house, and moving, it’s a win win).
But I am a work in progress, until the day I die, and the things I haven’t grasped from stepping off the dieting treadmill, is eating to satisfaction and stopping, and being able to really tune in to my hunger.
Part of me is aware it’s because it takes a lot of effort, and I’m not willing to put that effort in at the moment.
So I feel I’ve found a happy medium. Using a weight loss class, following their plan, eating all the foods I absolutely love, but leaving them to work out my portion control. And it’s fine for me. I’m not living in hope that all the empty diet promises are real. My life won’t be miraculously wonderful when I’m slimmer. I’ll be more comfortable. I’ll hopefully have improved fitness as I continue to move my body in ways I like. I will be able to buy clothes off the peg more easily. But my relationship with my children won’t miraculously improve, they won’t love me any more than they do now because I look different. I won’t suddenly get a top paid job. etc etc.
The problem I am now having with these “Diets don’t work” articles, is that they can lead to a feeling of hopelessness for those of us who’ve tried dieting and tried not dieting and still want to lose weight. I need to lose weight. For me. Not for anyone else. Not because society is telling me to, or my dr has recommended it. It is for me!
But it is very true. Diets DO NO WORK. We are the ones who choose where to put our efforts and energies in life. We are the ones who place value and importance on our decisions in life. And they can change daily. But that doesn’t make anything helpless or hopeless. And we have the power to decide on the best choices for us.