written by Matt Marchant
What if I told you that every diet you have ever been on has failed you? Notice what I said, “Your diet failed you, you did not fail the diet? How does that make you feel to hear that? Even if you had “successful” results from your diet, I invite you to consider that it still failed you.
In this abbreviated article, I will share with you what I have found true to my personal and professional experience. If you are interested in reading more, please read the full articles “Your Diet Failed... You Didn’t parts 1-3” found on this website.
What are the characteristics of Diets?
- It is something that you can only do temporarily.
- You must fit into it.
- It typically uses unreasonable approaches which rarely make sense to the basic laws of nature.
Diets by their nature are not meant for long term success physically, mentally, or emotionally. A diet is for temporary use only, if ever. They may have a purpose - they can stimulate and get us started on the right eating plan. That benefit can get ugly real quick if the diet convinces us of its dogmatic views or runs us through its shame cycle. User beware!
Dieting is a risk not only for our long term success, but for our immediate, physical, mental, and emotional health.
The 5 reasons why most, if not all diets fail us:
1. Diets function much more on generalizing health than individualizing health.
Everyone is unique and deserves to be treated as such. An optimal eating plan treats you as a unique person.
2. Diets are dogmatic belief systems - meaning they do not allow room for change or growth.
An optimal eating plan has a system of checks and balances and constantly reevaluates itself.
3. Diets do not educate on health, they dictate about health.
An optimal eating plan seeks to inspire and educate the individual.
4. Diets function on the shame cycle
An optimal eating plan seeks to pull you out of and never push you into a shame cycle.
5. Diets fail to deliver the true message to the dieter.
Eating is always a way to take care of yourself. When you eat for comfort, you have the right idea... but the wrong solution.
What are the emotional benefits to being overweight?
I invite you to consider that there are many emotional benefits to being overweight. When these emotional benefits become more important than the physical detriments, it is easy to see why we put on weight even when we know it is unhealthy and may be killings us.
Some of the possible “benefits” to being overweight:
#1 I have an excuse to get out of doing things.
Excuses give us the illusion of power at times when we feel powerless.
#2 I can drop out of our competitive culture.
It is easy to drop out of the competitive and comparative parts of society when we are overweight.
#3 I have an instant, easy, and abundant way to ease my anxiety or grief.
Food gives us instant comfort from emotional pain, with few immediate negative consequences.
#4 I can meet my emotional needs without having to “need” others.
Not needing others to comfort me makes me feel arrogant while I’m feeling pathetic about overeating.
#5 I get special attention, and get noticed more.
Being overweight may be the only way someone knows how to get noticed, and not being noticed is more painful than being overweight.
#6 I am less available for romantic relationships.
Being overweight may make us less available for the vulnerability of a relationship.
#7 I can communicate my needs without the fear of having to communicate.
Being overweight may be the only way someone knows how to communicate what they need from others or from themselves.
If we become aware to the message of the body, and hand ourselves some compassion for where we are, perhaps the body will no longer need to communicate to us in the same fashion as it has.
So what is it about dieting that makes it so damn tempting to do? We know diets, for the most part, rarely work and if they do, the changes that develop only last a brief time. What then is the allure of them?
We might want to blame good marketing on the “success” that diets receive in reaching more and more participants, but I don’t buy it, do you? Diets gain popularity not for what their programs offer us physically, but for what they offer us emotionally. In my personal experience with dieting, it offers me a chance to “check out” from personal responsibility. Might that be true for you as well?
Failure to discover more about why we diet, leads us to diet over and over again.
Success Rule #1: Find out what the majority of people are doing, and do the opposite.
A majority of people go on diets, are you ready to do the opposite?
What makes going on a diet so tempting to us?
1. We no longer have to make decisions.
What decisions can you hand off, wait on and cut out, so that you can make time to make decisions on your health?
2. We no longer have to learn or think for ourselves.
How do we benefit from “not knowing” how to take care of our health? How do we benefit from our unwillingness to learn how to take care of our health?
3. We can continue to be impatient.
Have you noticed yourself becoming impatient with your health and fitness results? Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others results? What can you learn from those judgements?
4. We no longer have to take personal responsibility.
Taking responsibility for ourselves requires taking a deeper look at ourselves.
5. We can continue to shame ourselves.
The Question: Why would I want to shame myself with a diet?
The Answer: Diets offer us the illusion of control, and problem solving.
The Answer: Diets feed our addiction to the unhealthy expression or suppression of emotions.
The Answer: Diets offer us a more culturally acceptable way of shaming ourselves.
If you would like to learn more, please read the articles “Your Diet Failed... You Didn’t parts 1-3” here on this website, or contact me for a complimentary 30 minute appointment at (714) 342-0359 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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