Expert Insight: What We Lose When We Diet

“I started each new diet with burning enthusiasm – this was going to be the diet to beat all the others, this time I was really going to lose weight and keep it off forever.  I never did.  Every single diet ended with me regaining all the weight I had lost, plus a few pounds extra.  What I did lose, I had not intended to lose – I lost time, I lost energy, I lost me”.

Dr Cherie Martin, “Naturally Slim Without Dieting”

It breaks my heart when I see a young woman on Instagram hating herself for not being able to stick to her slimming club’s diet plan, dreading her next weigh-in and vowing to do better tomorrow.  What will tomorrow bring for her?  More of the same and, in all likelihood, a life-long messed-up relationship with food.

Perhaps you were once that young woman.

I was.

What would you say to your younger self as she was about to embark on her first diet?  “Go on, you’re going to love dieting”?  Or perhaps “this will make you miserable for the rest of your life so please, please don’t, I beg you”.

Cherie Martin describes so well the cost of dieting.  In our attempts to lose weight, we lose something much more important – ourselves.  Every failed diet distances us from who we really are.  Before long, the only way we view ourselves is through a lens of abject self-loathing.

We yearn so much to feel better that we convince ourselves the next diet will “fix” us.  In reality, what we need is self-compassion, empathy and a meaningful connection to ourselves.

The process of finding our personal autonomy with food helps us to gradually renew that connection.  As we begin to understand and accept our natural appetites and instincts, we can begin to understand and accept ourselves.

If dieting takes us far away from ourselves, making peace with food can bring us home.

 

 

How are You Going to Eat for the Rest of Your Life?

Listen.  Can you hear that?

That’s the sound of people everywhere falling off the New Year diet wagon.

Maybe you’re one of them.

Maybe you bought into the much-touted idea that enjoying yourself at Christmas is ‘sinful’.

Maybe you felt you must make ‘amends’ by starting some self-proclaimed diet guru’s “no fail, instant weight-loss, guaranteed results, easy 12-week eating plan”.  (If I sound a bit angry, I am, because these people make my job so much harder).

Maybe you now find yourself out of control with food.

I’m sorry if that’s the case.

It’s not your fault.

Continue reading “How are You Going to Eat for the Rest of Your Life?”

Food for Thought: Make Glorious, Amazing Mistakes

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it”.  ― Neil Gaiman

Continue reading “Food for Thought: Make Glorious, Amazing Mistakes”

How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?

“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
the near and the dear ones, the old and the young…”
– John Lennon, “Merry Christmas (War is Over)”

Ah, Christmas – an enchanting season of celebration and wonderment…and hectic shopping trips and online deliveries, endless food preparation and overeating, feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

Wait, let’s try that again.

Continue reading “How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?”

What is eatonomy?

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow.  The only way that we can grow is if we change.  The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed.  And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it.  Throw yourself.”
– C. JoyBell C.

I started turning to food when I was around 12 years-old.  My emotional attachment to it had begun before that but I was about 12 when I started to binge, in secret, to the point that I felt sick.  As a result, I began to put on weight.

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How Do You Measure Success?

Dressed to kill, you appear in the doorway to the party.  There’s an immediate hush among the assembled guests.  Maybe a few gasps.  You stride confidently across the room to the bar.  Before you utter a word, the bartender hands you a glass of champagne with an admiring smile.

You turn to find the other guests clamouring around you.  “You look incredible”, they gush.  “You’ve lost so much weight!”.  “How did you do it?”.

“Just sheer willpower and utter fabulousness”, you smirk triumphantly.  You take a sip of champagne and think: “At last, I’ve arrived”.

Continue reading “How Do You Measure Success?”

Why Must Fat Shaming Stop?

“A final message Ellen wanted to share was about the fat shaming she endured from the medical profession.  Over the past few years of feeling unwell she sought out medical intervention and no one offered any support or suggestions beyond weight loss.  Ellen’s dying wish was that women of size make her death matter by advocating strongly for their health and not accepting that fat is the only relevant health issue.”

This is an excerpt from the obituary of Ellen Bennett who died on May 11th this year, aged 64.  Shortly before, Ellen had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and was given just a few days to live.  According to her family, she was “an unforgettable character” who enjoyed careers in politics, film and TV.

Continue reading “Why Must Fat Shaming Stop?”