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 Did You Learn About Food Growing Up?

Lunchtime had ended at my primary school.  I sat alone in the dining hall, apart from two teachers who stood over me.  They stared resolutely at me, while I stared forlornly at a plate of cold cottage pie.  Everyone else had gone out to play and I could hear the familiar noises of the playground in the distance.

I was told I couldn’t leave until I’d finished my lunch.

At 10 years old, I truly loathed cottage pie.  It was My Completely and Utterly Absolutely Worst Food in the World Ever, apart from my Mum’s curried egg (sorry, Mum).

Continue reading “What Did You Learn About Food Growing Up?”

What’s The First Thing You Say to Yourself in the Morning?

The alarm clock goes off.

Your eyes flutter open.

Still drowsy from sleep, you turn over and glance up to see someone who looks remarkably like Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from “Full Metal Jacket” standing over your bed.

He stares down at you, face like stone, eyes cold and unblinking, as he barks:

“RISE AND SHINE, SCUMBAG! TODAY YOU WILL EAT HEALTHY FOOD AND NOTHING BUT HEALTHY FOOD!  YOU WILL EXERCISE FOR PRECISELY ONE HOUR – I DO NOT GIVE A HOOT ABOUT YOUR SO-CALLED TENDINITIS!  YOU WILL COMPLETE EVERYTHING ON YOUR “TO DO” LIST, INCLUDING TAKING YOUR CAT, KATY PURRY, TO THE VET BECAUSE SHE’S TWO MONTHS OVERDUE FOR HER WORM TREATMENT!  I DO NOT CARE IF YOU DID NOT SLEEP WELL OR THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE A CASE OF THE SNIFFLES, THERE WILL BE NO EXCUSES AND NO COMPLAINING!  YOU WILL COMPLY WITH THESE ORDERS BECAUSE YOUR ASS IS MINE!”

Continue reading “What’s The First Thing You Say to Yourself in the Morning?”