I have spent the majority of my life on one diet or another. So have most of the women I know. I have lost weight, a lot of it, numerous times. And yet, I am not thin. I have an entire library devoted to books on weight loss, healthy eating, diet cookbooks, think yourself thin, run yourself thin, eat yourself thin, write yourself thin… So what’s wrong with me? Well, maybe nothing, and maybe everything.
The past forty years or so have seen many different styles of eating, and more specifically, “healthy” eating change radically. There was calorie counting, then low carb, then low fat, then low carb again, South Beach, Hollywood, Scarsdale, blood type, the Zone, food combining, vegetarian, vegan, plant strong, raw, paleo, etc. Like child rearing, if you look, you can find a book that supports whatever it is you want do do, or believe is best, or just suits you. Which ones work? I would say all of them, and none of them.
Any diet will work if you really stick with it for long enough, which is pretty much forever, and why most of us gain back at least some, if not all the weight we lost. I won’t get into the biophysics of it all, that’s not why you’re reading this. Most diets are pretty hard to stay on for more than a few weeks, a few you can live with/on for months, but what I found with every single diet I tried, was that eventually I started getting creative and branching out a bit here and there, and the next thing you know I still feel like I’m on a diet, but I’m not actually on it, and here is where a lot of people start blaming the diet. Which is like blaming the bat if you strike out in baseball, kinda.
Diets, no matter what anyone says, aren’t made to stay on indefinitely. If you need to lose 10-15 pounds, you can stay on almost any plan for long enough to do that. And if that’s all you need to lose, you probably don’t have a big problem. What if you’re Biggest Loser material? Then it’s a whole other ball game! Then, it’s all in your head, not your butt. And putting your head on a diet is pretty difficult, especially if you’ve had your body on one, or twenty for any length of time.
The meat of the problem (pun intended) is what you, or really, to be honest, I , believe about myself. If I see myself as fat, as impossibly and unalterably fat, odds are I will behave in a way that supports that belief. If I believe that no diet will work, guess what??? Yep. And I am not unlocking a secret box here, I’m just saying this is the dangerous and self defeating cycle I have created for myself, and I have no doubt that I’m not alone, no matter how lonely it feels.
If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me, because I’m almost there!
Even knowing what I know, and being the diet professional that I am, I plan to never put my body on a diet again. I am going to try to do something about my brain though. I am putting my brain on a diet of self satisfaction. I am going to try really hard to see myself differently. I love cookies and carrots. I love whole grains and turkey meatloaf. When you’re on a diet, and you want something, whatever that something is, you can eat five pounds of carrots, or lean turkey, or whole grain whatever, but if what you really want is a chocolate chip cookie, none of those things are going to satisfy you, but just one cookie might. OK, maybe two.