So, you’ve started a diet. It may be your first one, it may be the next one after a series of failed ones, but none of that matters because you’ve made the decision to try (or try again as the case may be). You’re fired up, this is it, you tell yourself. This is the beginning of the rest of my life! That’s exactly how I used to feel when:
- It was Monday morning and I had yet again decided to re-start my diet
- I’d read about a new ‘fad’ diet and decided to give it a go
- On the 1st of January every year
- I had purchased the latest detox kit from the pharmacist
- I had purchased a beautiful item of clothing which was in my ideal size (that I wasn’t’ obviously!)
I painfully remember the total optimism I used to feel in the beginning, well the first day at least because, unfortunately, I was totally hopeless at dieting, I mean TOTALLY. A typical day for me would be:
The night before my diet (or the week before) I would gorge on food. I would not only eat until I was full but I would order takeaways, munch through family sized packets of crisps, devour bars of my favorite chocolate and of course wash it all down with some fizzy diet drink! My attitude would be as if I was about to have the final supper and I would tell myself that I might as well make the most of it. I also kidded myself that the bingeing wouldn’t hurt me because tomorrow I would be turning into the svelte and sexy person that I was sure would emerge in the next couple of weeks.
On the morning of the first day of my last diet (lol), I would wake up with so much enthusiasm and excitement because I could almost see myself sashaying down the stairs of the train station on my way to work. All eyes would be on me as I entered the reception area of my office and I would be immersed in compliments the entire day. This elation lasted as I ate my hamster or rabbit breakfast (cereal = hamster, fruit = rabbit) whichever I chose on the day!! I would still wear my large, dark and stretchy outfits but this time instead of wearing them like a cloak, I would wear them as armour. I felt defiant, I felt energized and I felt impatient for the petite body that I dreamt of. This excitement usually started to wane very quickly. I know some of you reading this might find it unbelievable but I really did not take to dieting at all. I thought I was prepared for what lay ahead, I always brought with me some fruit to bide me till lunchtime. I normally ate it all within a couple of hours and by around 11am, I was famished! My hunger would then convince me that it was OK to eat the non-appetizing salad sandwich I had prepared myself for lunch. Needless to say, this did nothing to tame my hunger and as soon as I got home, I would binge eat until I was depressed again. I would then console myself that tomorrow was another day and that I would be the victor this time. . . And repeat.
As I found myself on the road to anti-dieting, and I had time to think about and evaluate the dieting process, I learned that diets only tell you the ‘good’ stuff i.e. that if you do what they say, you will be the size zero of your dreams, walking on the beach in your tiny bikini. What they don’t tell you is this:
- You may actually gain weight dieting
Yes, this happens and it happens a lot! It’s certainly very true for me. Looking back to when I first began dieting in my early teens, I realise that I wasn’t really ‘fat’ in the first place. But, as my dieting commenced and progressed over the years, I can see that gradually at first and then at a fairly steady pace, I began to gain weight. By the time I gave up dieting, I was much heavier than when I had started! Take a moment to think back, does this apply to you?
- Most diets fail
I have been on a multitude of diets, both fad diets and your regular sort. I admit it, I did lose a little weight but I always and I mean ALWAYS, gained all of it back again. This happened as soon as I could no longer sustain the denial or when I returned to normal eating after another ‘fad’ diet. I know that some diets are now concentrating on eating healthily and don’t concentrate on counting calories; This is great; however, they are still unsustainable because you are eating in a way that you would not normally and you still see the ‘junk’ food as ‘treats’ and ‘rewards’. This can sometimes work in the short term but not in the long term. The reason for this is that it doesn’t change our mindset, it doesn’t give us the tools to actually change our lifestyle forever which is what is really required if we are to sustain long-term health and weight loss.
- The diet will end up controlling you
I found that my entire life revolved around dieting and food. It took me to the extreme and ended up being the reason for my happiness and unhappiness. As long as I managed to stay ‘on my diet’ or ‘on plan’, I was happy and imagined how I would feel when I would slip into that little black dress. When I broke my diet or ‘went off plan’ then the opposite was true, I was unhappy and dejected. My emotions and the state of my self-esteem was ruled by the state of my diet and this was a terrible place to be in.
- Diets are not sustainable
If you manage to stick to the plan, if you follow all the rules and keep going to the gym, you will be slim. Period. This is a fact. There is a massive flaw in this though because it simply isn’t sustainable. When you stop the diet, you will resume normal behaviour and regain the weight you lost (in fact you may be heavier than before – see point 1). I mean, if you have had a lifetime of eating related issues, it is almost impossible to change these behaviours by choosing to follow a plan and still expect to be slim after you resume ‘normal’ life. How many stories have you read where someone actually manages to lose weight and then slip back into their old ways? The hard truth is that unless you change your lifestyle, you will always be in a state of battling the dieting demons.
- Diets are a trap
Where do I even begin with this one!! Because of their promise of the perfect body and lifestyle, diets lure you into a trap. Like the mouse attracted to the delicious lump of cheese, we are taken in by the images of beautiful, happy looking people promising us the same results that they have achieved. What they brush over is the fact that, in order to have what we want (a perfect body), we will have to experience denial, restriction and discipline, which is all but impossible!! The hype is so addictive because in a world where looks are everything, we choose to believe that the next diet will work and when that doesn’t work, the next one will!! Before you know it, you will be trapped in the vicious circle of dieting and the only way out appears to be yet another diet.
- Diets mess with your metabolism
This is something I just could not get my head around and in the days that I was caught in the dieting trap, there was no hope for me. All I wanted was the perfect body and I was willing to chase my tail for it!! I was in a state of emotional and mental denial and refused to believe that anything other than dieting would fix me and was certainly not willing to even consider the fact that maybe it was the ‘dieting’ itself that was holding me back from achieving my goal. Because of this, I wasted years so caught up in dieting and self-loathing. When my mind was finally ready to change, I began to open my eyes to what the dieting had done to me and from research I found out how starving slowed down my metabolism meaning that I was working against myself. When you starve, your body automatically slows down metabolism and begins to store fat!!
So, the next time you think about signing up to that slimming club or buying the diet product, think, I mean REALLY think. Is it worth it, the heartache, the feelings of failure, the financial cost to just end up where you were in the first place, or worse still, heavier than you were when you started?
There is a way to break this cycle, there is another way to lose weight.
If you are serious about losing weight but fed up of dieting, please like and follow my blog for great advice and tips to help you finally lose weight for good!
You can also read my book, The Anti-Diet Lifestyle – 4 Crazy Steps to Weight-Loss Success! This book contains all my weight loss secrets in an easy to follow formula. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and E-Book. I am serious about helping you achieve your weight loss goals!!
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle