To the person about to start another diet,
I get it. I really do. After doing more diets than you can count, you haven't reached your goal weight. In fact, you may even be at the highest weight you've ever been. You feel defeated and hopeless. You did everything right, but just couldn't stick to the plan.
One day, you are on Facebook and you see your friend post a before and after picture of their weight loss. You are in awe and think, "hey, I can do this!" You decide it's time to give this weight loss thing another try.
You feel excited, motivated and unstoppable. You feel like this time could really be THE ONE. This time, you won't quit like the times before. You will keep going. You will do what so many are trying to do.
Do you recognize yourself?
You are not alone. In one study, it was found that by the age of 18 years, 80% of girls of normal height and weight reported that they would like to weigh less. (Jones et al, 2001).
To me, this statistic is mind blowing.
It's easy to recognize we live in a society which has normalized body hatred and dieting. In this day and age, if you aren't dieting or trying to change your body, you are doing it wrong. This, my friends, makes me very sad.
Before starting yet another diet, I urge you to ask yourself the following questions:
- Has dieting made me happier in the past?
- What will make this attempt at dieting different than the others? Why do I think this diet will bring me different results?
- Will dieting make me a better person?
- Is the energy and time needed to diet worth it?
- Will I miss out on important social events due to not being able to eat certain things?
Don't get me wrong. I am all for freedom of choice. If people make an informed decision to diet, than this is their prerogative. The reality, however, is many people decide to diet because they believe it will bring them love, success and happiness. And this is often far from being the truth.
That said, dear dieter, I encourage you to rethink your weight loss attempt. Know this: the opposite of dieting is not laziness or weakness. The opposite of dieting is freedom, flexibility, trust and compassion.
If this sounds like a good alternative, start looking into intuitive eating and mindful eating. These practices can help you embrace food freedom and body respect. If you feel you need extra support with this, don't hesitate to contact a dietitian or therapist who specializes in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size®.
As a last note, I want to tell you you are worthy. Worthy of love, respect, success and happiness. Right now. Today. Without changing a thing about your body.