Updated: Feb 1
With a brand-new year upon us, many of us will have been taking stock of what we’ve left behind and where we’re going. It’s the time of year to set goals and intentions and recommit to our health goals.
And guess what? The $72 Billion diet industry KNOWS this!!!
We’re bombarded with TV ads from the most popular diet and weight loss programs. We’re enticed, attracted and hooked to join with the promise of losing all that extra weight we’ve gained over the Holidays, and through Covide lock downs.
They play on our desires and fears.
They make false promises: “Lose weight fast.” “keep it off for good with our new, innovative program…”
It’s tempting. Who wouldn’t want to believe it? Who wouldn’t want a quick, simple fix to what diet culture perceives as an epidemic and long plaguing problem? Why wouldn’t you want to fix something that’s become part of your deepest fears (to be overweight forever) and plays into your desire that THIS is the year…this year will be different. The weight will be lost, and you’ll be living the dream!
For those who’ve been down this road a time or two, dieting is like falling into a rabbit hole that’s not easy to come back from.
We’re kept in the darkness of despair when the latest diet doesn’t work. We’re chained to the belief that it’s our fault when we lose control around food and can’t muster one more ounce of willpower to “stay on track”, once again.
And yet, it’s not our fault.
We’re not to blame for the things we’ve done in the name of losing weight or to feel “enough”. I’ll share a snippet from my memories:
“I sat on the kitchen floor, slouched over, sobbing inconsolably. I’d spent hours bingeing, alternating between eating salty, crunchy crackers and tablespoons of peanut butter and jam, followed by tubs of creamy, sweet ice cream.
I prayed that I’d stop eating for just a minute so the pain in my belly would go away.
I wanted to throw every morsel of food I had away but knew that it was a futile exercise. I wasn’t afraid to scramble through the garbage when I felt desperate to fill a void and dull my feelings.
It was always the same. I was relentless and determined to finish what I’d started. There was no going back once I’d begun.”
This less than attractive memory was my reality for so many years. At the time, I felt completely out of control with food and believed I was broken beyond repair.
Just like Ground Hog Day, (a 1993 movie with Bill Murray), it was like rolling around a time loop. The beginning and the end were always the same, and just like the diet/binge cycle, I couldn’t get out.
Murray plays Phil Connors, an unhappy and cynical weatherman, sent to report on whether the groundhog sees its shadow on Ground Hog Day. In a twist of fate, Connors relives each day repeatedly, caught in a time loop and the only way to escape the cycle was to create a NEW reality by changing his perspective and ultimately, his behaviour.
As with the Phil Connors Ground Hog Day lesson, it’s not the situation that matters but how we respond to it – how we “manage” it that makes the difference.
Breaking Free with These 3 Tips
1. DECIDE to Stop dieting.
I felt terrified and free all at the same time when I decided to stop dieting.
I was terrified because dieting had been such a huge part of my life for so many years. I had no idea what to do next. What would my life be like without following a diet? Counting points? Tallying up my daily calories and then frantically trying to “work it off” in the gym? I was always afraid of the next inevitable “falling off the wagon setback”, ashamed of the grumpy person I became when it happened. I felt like a failure time and time again!
When I finally escaped the cage, I felt so FREE! It was amazing to leave ALL of that “weight” behind me.
My best advice when you make this choice for yourself too: Don’t worry about what comes next. Just be sure that you're ready to let go of something that's held you together and torn you apart, all at the same time.
YOU ARE READY to take control of your relationship with food, and with your body – and begin to create a more peaceful, loving and honoring relationship with her!
In your journal, write down all the benefits of leaving dieting behind. Imagine never counting points or calories again. Think about waking up each day without fearing food and praying that you'll stick to your diet one more time. What else?
Then, write down any fears that surface. What have you got to lose?
Write about your decision.
What will you choose? (Drop me a comment below and let me know – I’d really love to hear from
2. Be a Rule Breaker
My inner rebel loved breaking the rules! It was freeing to know that I didn't have to follow the rules I'd broken over and over for so long.
I realized I could choose foods to eat based on what I wanted, how I felt, and what my body was asking for.
Food is not a moral issue. Food isn't “good” or “bad”, and our choices aren't “right or wrong”. You and I are not good or bad, weak or strong, for eating any food.
In your journal, write down all the food and body rules you follow. If you can’t think of them all at once keep adding to the list throughout the week. Here are some examples: “I can’t have more than 30 grams of carbs each day” or “I must eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day” or “I shouldn’t eat past 7pm – kitchen's closed.”
Once you have completed your list, choose one rule to break over the next week. Start with an easy one that's doable. Don't worry about bingeing or overeating. Practice tip #3 as you break your first rule. Be curious.
Journal the experience. What did you notice about breaking the rule? What feelings emerged? What did the food taste like? What happened when you broke the rule?
3. Reconnect with Your Body
I had no idea what hunger felt like before I stopped dieting. I ate on time whether I was hungry or not. It never occurred to me to check in with my body and ask her if she was ready to eat and what she wanted.
Dieting keeps us stuck in our heads, thinking about food all the time. Reconnecting with our body's inner Wisdom or Intuition allows us to heal and create a healthy relationship with food.
Communication. Listening. Honour. That is how we create a peaceful relationship with our body and connect with our need to nourish her.
In your journal, write down all the body signals you do recognize. For example, how do you know when it’s time to sleep? How does your body let you know? What are the signals?
Then, before you eat your next meal or snack, sit quietly and take a few deep breathes to relax. As you breathe, focus your attention down to your belly. Ask her this question: “Are You Hungry?” What does your hunger feel like? What do you notice?
SLOW down. Take the time to recognize your hunger signals and when your body is satisfied as well. Become more mindful of your food – and the process you follow consuming it.
Be patient with yourself and practice this step before each meal and snack. This is a whole new way of looking at food and your body. It may take you some time to hear your body's signals but I promise you, she's talking to you all the time - it's just a matter of listening.
So, my question for you is this: Are you ready to break free from your diet time loop?
If your answer is “YES,” there's no reason to go it alone.
If you’d like some help implementing these strategies in your life because you’d like to break free from the shackles of dieting, let’s connect. Let's talk about how to create a peaceful relationship with food and your body, one step at a time.
To schedule your Love Your Body, Love Yourself FREE Clarity Call with me, click Here.