Read this Before Your Next Diet

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Read this before your next diet! You have decades of diet experience behind you and I know you’re frustrated with thoughts of another diet.

Spoiler alert, I hope you never have your next diet. However, if you are telling yourself you need to diet, please read this first.

I started my sixth decade a size 14. I finished the last few years as a size 8. I have written about that journey for six years.

However, it was in this last year that I was able to let go of restricted eating, to begin intuitive and mindful eating. I was sure I would gain weight. However, I didn’t. In fact, a few days ago, I weighed less than I have in five years.

Happy Almost Birthday to Me!

Diets always seem to have some element of punishment in them. You’ve been eating too much and now you must give that up.

What if that simply isn’t true?

What if you, no matter what you weigh or what size you wear; are not just allowed, but encouraged to eat food you like in quantities that you never have to feel deprived again?

In fact, if you are telling yourself any of the things below, I can predict that your dieting efforts will not work.

  • I need to get my shit together.
  • Why am I so lazy?
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • Why can’t I quit overeating?
  • I’m disgusting.
  • I hate my body.
  • I’m going to have to hit this hard.
  • I need to get back on track.
  • I’m going to eat it all this weekend and start on Monday.

These are statements that I hear over and over in all their variations and they illustrate the state of mind that women have about their bodies, the food they eat, and how they feel about themselves.

If you are a woman who grew up in the US, I know you have heard women say all these things! They are so ingrained in our vocabulary that we just take them for granted.

Of course, I need to diet. Of course, I hate my body. Of course, there is something wrong with me!

Here’s what I hate—a diet industry and advertising that has convinced us that there is something wrong with us based on our body or the foods we eat.

Picture of Sara with words: Read this before your next diet.

Your Body Will Never Look Like Images You See

Normal bodies are not normalized, yet. But I see some attempts at it. I love seeing catalogs and advertising that show real bodies, even though they are airbrushed too.

I wear a size eight and I still have rolls, scars, dimples on my butt, loose skin, and many other so-called imperfections.

Guess what? EVERYONE has them. Everyone. But we don’t see real naked bodies. We just don’t know what is truly normal anymore.

Yet, we spend time in front of the mirror picking our bodies apart and criticizing ourselves for things that are beyond our control.

This is wasted time my friends! Your body is normal—even if it is bigger than you want. And even when you lose weight, it will still not be perfect. You’ll just find new things to focus on.

You Can’t Hate Yourself into Losing Weight

If hating yourself caused a person to lose weight; we’d have a world full of skinny women.

The only thing that hating yourself accomplishes is making yourself miserable. I know, you probably feel like you deserve to feel miserable because of how “you’ve let yourself go.”

You haven’t let yourself go and you don’t deserve to feel miserable.

Any actions you take from feeling hate against yourself are not going to be helpful. I would go as far as to say it’s the opposite of helpful. You are holding yourself back!

Like any other actions we take, those taken from love, compassion, and understanding are always more effective.

Diets are Simply Products Someone is Trying to Sell You

The diet industry is a huge money-maker and everything you see advertised is designed to sell you something. Diet advertising is getting smarter too. They do want you to think they care but there is always a bottom line.

Diets Promise Something That DOES NOT EXIST.     

The research is clear. Diets do not offer sustainable long-term results. At best the offer short-term weight loss that is almost 100% followed up by gaining the weight back plus a few extra pounds.

These dismal statistics are for ANY diet.

This is difficult to believe. How can something that fails almost 100% of the time, be something that we all believe we should be doing?

I’d say it’s because we have a collective belief that diets are necessary and that we should all be on them. But they don’t work long-term and in my opinion, they are a waste of time.

Most people don’t understand that weight is more than willpower or “eating right.”

You Will Not Be Happier When You Lose Weight

This might be the most difficult thing to believe so far.

I know because every person that wants to lose weight, wants to do this because they think they will feel better once they lose weight.

Guess what? Your weight is not the reason you feel bad at times.

You feel bad because you are a human, and humans feel bad much of the time. All of us.

Here’s something to know. Even if your weight is causing physical problems, you can feel better before you even lose a pound.

I’m going to address the emotional side first though. There is a belief that we can’t be happy, confident, and amazing if we weight more than our magic number on the scale.

We put off all the things that could bring us joy because we’re waiting until we weigh a certain amount before we allow ourselves to live our best lives.

We SACRIFICE our lives and our joy in pursuit of a stupid number on the scale.

Read that again: We sacrifice our lives and our joys in pursuit of a stupid number on the scale.

Your happiness is not correlated to your weight or size.

You Don’t Have to Lose Weight to Feel Better

You can feel better before you ever lose a pound. This surprises my clients. When they begin making changes in how they eat, they feel better.

They feel physically better. They have more energy. They feel more confident. They have less pain.

When you work with your body instead of against it; you begin to feel better in all ways.

Focusing on weight loss often leads to behaviors that reinforce unhealthy eating. Focusing on working with your body reinforces behaviors that help you feel better.

Diets Take Away Your Autonomy

Diets promote weight loss. I know, they also promise that you are eating healthy.

However, all diets take some of your autonomy away by promoting a certain way of eating or certain amounts.

It just doesn’t feel good to not have complete autonomy over the food you eat.

Diets also create this sense of some foods are good and some foods are bad. This leads to us thinking we are good or bad based on what we eat.

I know you know what I’m talking about.

You eat your broccoli; you feel good about yourself. You have a brownie for dinner; you feel bad about yourself.

Neither of those situations are good or bad. You are not good or bad based on what you eat or weigh.

You really can decide to eat what you like, when you want, in amounts that physically feel good.

You can have complete autonomy over your food choices!

You Can Trust Your Body

Your body may feel out of your control right now. If you are binging or eating in a compulsive way, it may feel hopeless.

You are not hopeless, and neither is your eating.

Much of the food that is available in the grocery stores is food designed to make you overeat and crave more of it. It is designed to override your hunger cues, your fullness cues, and even the executive function part of your brain.

That CAN feel hopeless.

Also, you probably have years of depriving yourself and then overeating. This cycle can repeat itself daily for years on end.

Both of these situations create problems in your brain for you around food.

But this is NOT hopeless. You can learn to trust your body and your brain.

There is a part of your brain that lies to you all the time. It’s not trying to hurt you but it is the older more primitive part that wants to keep you safe, comfortable, and free of pain.

The problem is that we live in a world that this part of our brain hasn’t caught up to.

You can’t change this.

You can though, be onto your brain. You can hear its BS lies and not believe them.

It can take a few months for you to stop believing the primitive brain and begin trusting your body around food. This is normal and easier than you believe right now.

If I Don’t Diet; What Can I Do Instead?

I believe that beginning a diet before you address the reason you think you need to diet is futile and ineffective. It’s like trying to fix a broken leg with an aspirin.

It doesn’t work!

That doesn’t mean I want you to go on overeating and gaining weight. The first step is stabilizing your weight and normalizing your eating.

These posts describe the how in more detail:

How to Stop Compulsive Overeating

How to Make Peace with Food

How to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Before you attempt to lose weight; you have to really examine and understand what is causing you to suffer.

We create much of this suffering in our own minds. Let’s face it. The people in our lives don’t really care how much we weigh or what our size is.

To be successful; you must quit punishing yourself for eating food.

Diets always seem to have some element of punishment in them. You’ve been eating too much and now you have to give that up.

What if that simply isn’t true?

What if you, no matter what you weigh or what size you wear; are not just allowed, but encouraged to eat food you like in quantities that you never have to feel deprived again?

This is not an overnight process. It takes time to retrain your brain around food, your body, and eating. You’ve been creating these habits for decades. It might take a few months to begin your new relationships with food, your body, and eating.

That is a beautiful thing!

Think of it as a new romance. You are going to be getting to know yourself on a whole new level. You will discover that you are more than your size, your weight, and the food you eat.

You get to be amazing. You get to feel amazing.

And maybe for the first time in your life; you won’t be obsessed about food and your size!

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Keep showing up my friends,

Sara

Sara

I'm a certified life and weight loss coach who helps women feel better and get the most out of their lives! The process of life coaching teaches you to love yourself and gain self confidence in a safe effective way.

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.