It’s a curse word. Diet. We’ve all done it and we all hate it. Don’t lie. It’s almost like a hazing ritual to graduate into adulthood. Come on, do this diet, hate your body with all the rest of us.
We are always striving for more. It is the beauty and curse of our species. We’re never satisfied. But we are also very critical, and our own worst critics, with our bodies taking the brunt of it. Our bodies are the first thing we see when we look in the mirror. It’s hard to remember how smart we are and how we juggle so many of life’s hardest tasks in a day, when your eyes beam exactly to your mid-section, your thighs, or whatever it is that nags you on a daily basis.
So what do we do? We diet.
We diet to take control. In our hearts we truly believe we will make a difference this time, because it is the latest trend, it is the cleanest juice, the most detoxifying supplement that has ever hit the shelves before (insert sarcastic tone while reading). But it is never the miracle cure for those final 8-never-budging pounds, or the jumpstart you have been hoping for. It is actually the complete opposite.
The diet creates a vicious cycle. You have highs. Like that time you dropped 5-pounds in 3-days, except you had to swear off all sugar and you were sipping all your meals through a straw. Yeah, that was fun. Then you have super lows. That time you ate an endless amount of guacamole and chips, alone, because you’re starving, then for the next 48-hours felt bad about yourself. But the truth is how could you have survived in the first place? No one can subsist on 1,000-calories a day or only eating 1-food group, or no carbohydrates (hello, those are what fuels your brain, of course you are going to lose it if you cannot function!).
And that doesn’t even start to explain why I hate diets.
I hate diets because they are like that horrible exes we’ve all had. Let me describe them to you.
They’re gorgeous, in tip-top shape, dresses great, and is successful. So they claim. In the beginning they make you feel like a million dollars. Treating you like you have never been treated before, but after time, you start to question yourself. Why are they with me? How long will this last? At the same time, you start to see their true colors. It is all about them. What they want to do, what you should do for them, but never listening to your needs. But you stick around, because they’re gorgeous, in tip-top shape, and dresses great, remember. It’s a vicious cycle. You are trying to prove you are worthy of them, and every once in a while they show you they care, so you continue to be loyal. But in the end, all you are getting is more self-conscious and losing your sense of self.
This is exactly how a relationship with a diet goes. It is packaged perfectly, claims to be this wonderful solution for your every need and in the beginning, it works. You are on cloud 9. But then something happens. It doesn’t feel as good as it did in the beginning, it actually feels worse. You stop feeling like yourself, you stop seeing results, and all you’re left with is claims. This is not a healthy relationship. Just like this ex, it is not as good as it appears and you need to break-up ASAP.
Just like the old saying goes, “looks fade,” so do the claims of a diet. Dieting is temporary, but your health is forever, and so is your sanity. You would never put up with a emotionally inept man or woman who only cares about themselves and made you feel bad at yourself, would you? So why let a diet do the same things?
They say if you want to find the perfect mate, you need to put it out to the universe. Write down all the qualities you are looking for and don’t settle. Well, I think you need to do the same thing for your health.
Right now. Write down all the things you need to feel your best. Describe what a healthy day feels like to you, and what makes you feel satisfied. Then re-read it in 24-hours, do you still agree? Would you change something? Edit to the point where you feel you figured it out on paper, and then start to apply it. Slowly and steadily. Not all at once. Maybe it is just focused on changing your late night snacking and instead of cutting it out completely, you swapped a piece of fruit in there. Or maybe you go big, and you start cooking for yourself each night instead of takeout.
Learning to be healthier and eat better is a journey. It takes practice, it takes trial and error, but it also includes food. We need to learn to take care of ourselves before shifting focus and taking care of everyone else. Toss away diets. Practice eating, practice loving yourself, and nourishing your body with whole foods. Break-up with your diet forever, and marry a healthy relationship with eating.