Advice on how to lose weight is everywhere – the Internet, television, social media and the front cover of magazines. We are continuously bombarded with new fad diets that are heralded as the next new amazing weight loss technique. As a result it is important to ask: Does dieting define you?
We live in a diet culture. Think about your daily conversations – with friends, with family, with colleagues, and with co-workers. It is my guess that diets or dieting is frequently part of your conversations.
If you were to gather 20 random people and place them in a room together, there is a high probability that the majority would be on a diet in that moment or have been on a diet within the past year.
Dieting is the new normal. As a result, it is a factor in how people see themselves and often defines who they are.
When dieting defines you, the way that you think about food is altered. You do not think about food choices as healthy or not healthy. It is more about what you CAN or CANNOT eat. There is no middle ground.
Most people have no idea of how dieting has affected their eating habits and attitudes about food. Continual dieting narrows a person’s world in a very significant way.
When an individual is jumps from diet to diet, they never take the time to step back and take a look at the bigger and more important picture of life and health.
It never occurs to chronic dieters who have spent most of their life on one diet or another that an unrelenting focus on dieting is not a great way to live.
They do not realize that dieting has taken control of their lives and their general outlook. Their obsession with food – what they eat (or don’t eat), plus continual counting of calories, carbs, fats, etc. is very restricting and not much fun.
Chronic dieters usually fall into the trap of identifying foods as good or bad – a mindset of food restriction that is one of the underlying causes of failure to lose weight.
Chronic dieters tend to set unrealistic goals. Every time they start a new diet and decide to lose weight (again), they have a magical number in mind that they want to reach. They rarely take into consideration their height, bone structure, body type, and current state of their health.
The number they pick is typically linked to some image they have attached to their self-worth and happiness and all they can think about is reaching the goal.
This is a sure formula for failure as they implement one diet after another. It is also very dangerous because of the temptation to try fad diets that promise quick weight loss, which can have serious health implications.
Some dieters mistakenly believe that if they “fall off the wagon” they are technically no longer dieting. During that time, they swing the other direction and binge-eat, stuffing themselves with everything they were deprived of during the “dieting” period.
The reality is that if you are engaged in chronic dieting, your diets are open-ended and on-going. You are caught in a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting.
You simply continue to try diet after diet, hoping each time that you will reach a magical number that will make your life OK and inner happiness will finally be yours.
More about yo-yo dieting in the next post. Please join us.