Diets, dieting is what we do-they're treated as a cure-all, a health maker, a happiness maker. But how many times have you actually felt healthier and happier after you've finished your diet?
It's week 2 of my "love your body" series for national eating disorder awareness month. I really want you to take home the message that DIETING SUCKS and that dieting itself won't make you love your body, won't make others love your, and won't make your life great. Adopting healthy habits will help, but that's for next month, National Nutrition Month.
1. Dieting can lead to bingeing.
Restricting your food or staying away from your favorite foods can only last so long. How many times have you gone crazy after reaching your goal weight or finishing a diet. Not only is dieting not productive, it messes with your head.
2. Dieting doesn't lead to long-term changes.
90+% of dieters regain that weight, and even more. How is this productive? It leads to dieting cycles, frustration, and feeling like you can't accomplish anything. Since when has restricting enjoyable foods been labeled as determination? Food and eating needs to be enjoyed, when it's not it's miserable and not something anyone could stick to-that has nothing to do with determination. Besides, if you're so determined to eat perfectly, you're wading in the dangerous waters of disordered eating.
3. Dieting leads to a whole lot of negative self talk.
That's destructive. I'm sick and tired of hearing that what you say aloud or what you tell yourself doesn't affect how you treat yourself or others. It's just not true. The mean things we call ourselves lead to us not liking our bodies. Unfortunately not liking your body leads to not taking care of your body. The more you talk negatively about yourself or others, the more you're actually going to think those things. Stop lying to yourself by saying it doesn't matter. Our actions do speak louder than our words, but our self-talk guides our actions.
4. It's easy to tie your self worth & acceptance to your ability to stick to a restrictive diet.
Since when are you worth what you can lose or what foods you can will yourself to avoid? Since when are you minimized to your body? You, everyone is a complex being with skills and contributions that have nothing to do with how we look or how much we weigh. Stop minimizing yourself to your size. You deserve better, you deserve to be comfortable in your own skin and to be content with your lifestyle, not always reaching for that all illusive perfect diet.
5. Dieting/weight loss will not magically allow you love your body.
At least in the long term. So many exercise and nutrition programs I see around tell you that you will grow to love your body, once you cut the fat and slim down. Once you get that hot bod, you’re going to love yourself, you’re going to be accepted, and you’re going to be whole/awesome/rocking life. Newsflash, even women who have the bodies that society envies, hate aspects of their bodies. The reality is that this ever so elusive perfect bod is an ever moving target. If you’re banking all of your happiness on achieving the hot bod goal, you’re going to be seriously disappointed.
Long story short, you NEED to learn to love your body for what it is, and what it allows you to do, NOT for what it theoretically could or may look like. If your self-worth is tied to that, you deserve better. Really. Because in all reality even women who fit that ideal mold still don't feel that way. Beauty Redefined, a brilliant and so important organization that aims to empower women to think of themselves and of others than just bodies posted this powerful quote from Emma Watson the other day. Emma Watson is the British actor, most famously known for her role as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. She is looked up to by many for so many reasons.
“I was riddled with insecurity…. And I realized it’s because I can’t even reconcile myself with my own image on the front of these magazines. Compare myself to how I look, when I’ve gone through all of that makeup and styling, to my normal life is- I can’t live up to it. I was like….. “If that’s how I feel, and get to be the person who’s on the cover of the magazines, how’s anyone else meant to cope?”
That was taken from her quote published in Esquire UK in March 2013.
Emma brings up an important realization. She was comparing her real self to her ‘fake’ self that appeared on magazine covers. Unfortunately, a majority of the images we see of celebrities, in any form of advertisement be it print, TV, or other forms… they’re not real. They’re airbrushed and corrected to promote this ‘perfection’ that is unattainable for even the most famous people who have the expectations to have the perfect bodies as well as the resources to do so. If they can’t compete or reconcile with this expectation, how can the rest of us do it? Literally, there’s no way.
Instead of being frustrated and overwhelmed with this expectation that society places on us to have it all with a hot bod, throw that expectation out the window. Because in all reality, you will not reach this expected hotness IS NOT REAL. It’s photoshopped, and you live in a real world and have so much more to give than to meet this expectation of hotness.
So obviously, throwing these expectations out the window, as difficult as it is, is the first step to health and happiness.
Also, make sure to follow my series of inspirational music lyrics this month on Instagram.
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Let's get chatty:
- what role does dieting or not dieting have in your happiness, health? I'd love to hear your honest experiences!