For many it means feeling guilty about food choices over the previous week, and a commitment to better eating and doing it right and using all that willpower.
For others it is a delightful day to celebrate not dieting, after years of suffering under some evil dictatorial regime of never being good enough, and always failing.
For many, the word diet is perceived negatively. The word diet is connected with deprivation and failure and judgement.
For some, the thought of a diet instantly raises the pulse rate and anxiety levels.
But sitting here, on a Monday morning, I am on a diet. I’m not lying. I have decided I need to decriminalise that word in my head. I need to disassociate the thoughts of deprivation and failure. I need to accept and understand that judgement does not come from a plan, written in black and white. It comes from my listening to media hype over the years that tell women everywhere they need to look a certain way, behave a certain way, eat certain foods in a certain way!
But I still desire weight loss, for me, myself and I. And so I am choosing to diet. I am choosing to use a plan that helps me make better food choices. I’m not overly strict and condemning when I deviate from the recommended foods. I go out for meals, I party. I enjoy living.
But for a long time, after discovering Beyond Chocolate, I felt guilty about going on a diet. Because there is a big stigma attached. “Diets Don’t Work!” is shouted so loudly and proudly, citing report after report of how people try and fail to lose and maintain a loss. But my own experience is starting to show that I can be one who can maintain a loss, with just a few changes. So I’m curious now to what has changed in me, that now weight, while still hard to lose, is at least easier to maintain when a few stone have been lost. I’m nearly 3 stone down from two years ago (again, I did gain half when depression hit again). I’ve kept it most of it off. And I think a big part of that is taking the power away from diets, knowing they are inanimate. Food can not judge me, and the judgement of others is irrelevant. If I have a bad day it is just a day. There’s no last supper eating or binges (or at least incredibly rarely). And there is a real feeling that I follow a plan because I feel better with the structure. Yes I know what foods are better for me, a diet plan just makes it a bit easier.
The problem with discovering Beyond Chocolate was the rebellious person inside me that suddenly got a voice. It loved that I wasn’t following a plan. It loved that I could eat what I wanted when I wanted, and it enjoyed ignoring the principles it didn’t want to follow, because here was a new way of life free of diet, free of control, free of judgement. And I didn’t have to listen to diet experts who I believed had ruined my relationship with food.
But unfortunately I gained weight, because that rebellious side enjoyed the freedom and the “fuck you!” mentality.
Now I look back, and I know rebellion is a natural thing, but it is something we try to contain, isn’t it? If our children are rebelling, we accept it as a part of growth, but we don’t let them get away with every rebellious act! And somehow, dwelling on that has made it easier to limit the effect that rebellious part of me has an effect on my eating. Weight loss matters to me at the moment, and when I give in to that rebel, it takes longer.
I don’t think I’m alone. Has hearing how “diets don’t work!” helped you? Have you lost weight not dieting? Or have you found a way to lose weight without the judgement you felt before while following a diet plan?