First of all, a diet is a temporary experience: it does not contribute to a sustainable or a healthy lifestyle. Anytime a person goes “on” a diet, they will go “off” of the diet. More times than not, unhealthy habits will resume. In addition, over 95% of dieters gain the weight back ~ plus more.
Another reason diets don’t work is while dieting or restricting, the body’s natural processes are interrupted. Every cell in the body knows it is being deprived. In time, this deprivation must be equaled – and when it is, metabolism has been lowered and therefore weight is gained more quickly. Also, for most people who diet, there is focus on a number of pounds or a dress size rather than overall health. Once a person loses weight, the end result may be fewer pounds but very little learning or growth may have occurred. Also it could be said that diets deprive individuals of transformation: the possibility of emerging from an unhealthy life into one of wellness and well-being.
The most damaging aspect of dieting is the implication that there is something wrong with you or that you need fixing. The truth is you are a whole and unblemished person totally capable of creating the very best of health for yourself. You are not a number on the scales; you are not a dress size; you are a complete person, worthy of honor, respect and love. Weight loss and healthy living has never been achieved by shaming or blaming oneself. It is a matter of deciding what you want and aligning your thoughts, beliefs and vision with focused, intentional action. Only through awareness, acceptance, love and compassion does a human being achieve health and wellness.
Rather than changing your relationship with food, try changing your relationship with yourself (in relationship to food and your health):
- Put your health on “priority status”
- Challenge every assumption you make
- Notice judgments and critical thoughts
- Define your vision for yourself
- Determine the steps toward this vision
- Align your thoughts, beliefs and actions
- Commit and remain true to your word
Imagine: not being frightened by any feeling. Imagine: knowing you can handle any situation…that you will not be destroyed or guilt ridden…that you are large and vaster than any feeling or thought. Imagine: any threatening situation being small in comparison to knowing who you are and what you value in life.
You are not broken and you do not need to be fixed. If you suspend self-acceptance and love until you are at your desired weight or size or behavioral goal, the message you are telling yourself is you are not worthy as you are. Your foundation becomes one of inadequacy and shame – of denial and self-judgment
Freedom from worry and constant food control is not a diet to go on but a state of being – a state of knowing who you are and being fully present to this moment. It is embracing the life you have right now, as the person you are, and knowing what sustains you – what brings you joy, peace and love. Freedom is about having the life you want by being present to the life you have now – not the life you believe you must create.
So trust in yourself, have faith in your abilities and focus on the beauty of each new day. Ultimately you will be able to create balance, serenity and health in body, mind and spirit.