“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.
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.