Every year, 45 million Americans go on a diet. I used to be one of them. I dieted before my wedding, and I've dieted to lose weight at other times. I have experimented with using food to be more healthy and ethical.
And I'm done with dieting. Here's why.
Diets are Based on Shame
Why do people go on diets? Many times, it's because they aren't happy with how they look. But at a deeper level, there's something more serious going on. They aren't happy with who they are.
I've known many people who felt that if they could just lose weight, they'd be happier. Unfortunately, the diet industry plays into that. They tell you that if you diet, you'll find your perfect love, have more success, and be more joyful.
Except that's not how it is. In my own experience and talking to other dieters, being at a "goal weight" does not make life better. In fact, many are more miserable because they feel they have to maintain it or they will be a failure.
Everything in life becomes wrapped up in what they do and don't eat, and the shame they feel from "failing."
That's not a life I want to live!
Diets Don't Work!
A lot of people see diets as a short-term activity. They look for a six-week weight-loss plan before a wedding or reunion. Or they try a "two-week cleanse."
It's no surprise that these short-term diets don't work. The more savvy among us try to make a "lifestyle change." We decide we're going to make permanent, long-term shifts in how we eat.
Unfortunately, those shifts look like this:
*Eliminating entire food groups
*Dramatically reducing our favorite snacks or desserts
*Removing foods that we really enjoy but deem "bad"
*Exalting foods that we deem "good" to miracle status
Those attitudes don't last either! In fact, being restrictive leads to a diet-binge cycle that gets worse every time around.
Whether it's a short-term diet or a "lifestyle change," you're not going to get healthy.
What DOES Work – An Invitation
So should we give up on being healthy? No! But it's important to be mentally healthy as well as physically healthy.
Here's what I do:
*Move my body daily in ways that are fun and rewarding to me
*Don't demonize or "miraclize" any food
*Eat balanced meals
*Stop when my body is content, even if it means throwing out food
*Don't feel guilty about eating – EVER!Can you imagine eating food and moving your body every day, without ever feeling guilty? It's possible. I invite you to join me on the journey!