Day Three - It's Not About the Weight

So often clients of mine will come to me so frustrated by what and how much to eat. They tell me about their long history of diets and weight loss…and then weight gain. I hear how well this diet worked and that diet worked, but they couldn’t sustain it. I’m their last resort because they have exhausted all options to change their diet and body.

Let’s first get one thing out of the way about dieting because it’s important to understand. DIETS DO NOT WORK long term. Yes, most diets result in a temporary weight loss followed by weight gain, however, this does not make them successful. It’s important to understand you have not failed at your diet, but rather the diet has failed you. I mean look at the word in DIE-t. Our bodies are designed to fight back against restrictions (AKA dieting), you can read more here and about how and why.

If dieting doesn’t work then why will 60 billion dollars be spent on them this year?

Diet Culture

Today’s ideal of beauty and body size are toxic. Magazines are photoshopped, pictures have filters and every turn in media (and social media) body shames. You can’t even escape it in the medical community where there is more and more shame about your bodies. Everyday these images and messages seep into your brain and effect your thoughts about eating and your body. It’s not long before you start drinking the kool-aid too.

It’s Not About Food

Rarely is dieting about food. Just yesterday, I saw on the billboard near my house with a very thin women with a  big smile saying, “Weight Loss Improved My Life.” So many people think this to be true. If I could just lose weight I’d be happy. Research doesn’t support this. Even if you are part of the 1% who can maintain the weight loss body hate can translate to other areas maybe it’s your arms or your nose instead.

Dieting is a distraction

It’s the very reason why people don’t feel better or happier after they lose weight. Weight loss and dieting is a distraction from real feelings. Dieting can take up a lot of time and brain space. It’s not uncommon when you decide to let go of dieting that other emotions come up. It’s why I always recommend working with a Non Diet Dietitian along with a Therapist trained in Disordered Eating. Once you give up dieting, you’ll need other coping mechanisms to deal with the uncomfortable feelings that come up if you aren’t using food anymore.

It‘s important to build up resilience to dieting and diet culture. Try one of these activities today:

  1. Fight against diet culture – unfollow anyone on social media that makes you feel bad about the food you are eating or you body. (Yes, sometimes this means unfollowing friends for a little while until you’ve built up resilience). You know we all have them, the friend that is dieting and posting about their food, the beach body coach who is eating out of small containers, or the person who keeps shaming bodies by posting their before and afters.
  2. Work on identifying feelings when you are eating. Sit down and focus on your eating, what is coming up for you as you eat? Do you feel anxiety, guilt, shame, stress? Journal a little about it.
  3. Get support. Follow my Facebook Page. Find other Non Diet Dietitian and Therapists you can fill your news feed with.
  4. Educate yourself. Read books about body positivity, health at every size and non diet approaches. I have some recommendations here.
  5. Get 1:1 help if you are struggling. I work with clients all over the country. You can read more here.

This will give you lots of things to think about today. Sometimes clients get made, why have I been led down this path for so long. Or maybe sad to learn dieting and changing your body might not happen? It’s okay to have those feelings, sit with them and feel them.

Have a Great Day!