I literally cannot count the number of times that I’ve started a diet, lost weight, got tired of it, bored, had a “reason” to cheat…and then gained all the weight back.
Y’all. I am a recovering binge eater. Dieting is in my DNA. But I always, always gain the weight back (and then some).
If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight by changing your diet or eating a certain way (because heaven forbid we call it a diet!) or you’ve tried to quit sugar, or Coke (in the South it is NOT the same thing)…
And no matter what you do, the weight comes off, and then it comes back. I’ve even meditated on “releasing” unwanted pounds (so I couldn’t find them). Every single diet I have tried has failed.
And there’s a good reason for that.
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Diets Don’t Work
Diets are everywhere. All you have to do is turn on the television, and you’ll see advertising forThere’s Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Medifast, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers…I could fill this page with the list of multi-billion dollar ‘diets’…and I’ll admit it: I’ve tried most of them.
Okay, fine. ALL of them. I actually had a whole bookcase devoted to “healthy” literature. And every single book plugged a different diet, a different way of losing weight. I was a little obsessed.
And I kept buying them! Society tells us that we must diet. We have to lose weight. We need to be a size 0. That’s not healthy, y’all.
That’s why diets SUCK. Diets aren’t sustainable, and they don’t prepare you for a life of being healthy. Instead, these companies are focused on their marketing. “If you just use [insert name of crappy diet here], you too can lose 50 pounds and run down the beach in a bikini!”
The diet industry is a billion dollar industry. And they’re banking on your low self-esteem (that they’ve given you) to fund their next “miracle” product.
Sure, you can eat their processed food, or count your points, and you’ll succeed…for awhile. But what happens when you hit an inevitable plateau? What do you do when your calories get reduced because you’ve lost a magical number of pounds? What happens when you’re on a ‘diet’ and you’re so hungry that even day-old, dried out macaroni and cheese (organic, of course) that your child didn’t finish sounds like the most amazing food in the world?
Or the scariest realization: what happens when you’ve hit your “perfect weight” (which, let’s face it, is completely subjective) and have to *gasp* MAINTAIN said weight?
What do you do then? I don’t know about you, but I am a complete bitch on less than 1,500 calories, and with every diet, I have found that I’m hungry, cranky, and generally feel like I’m PMSing all day long. Every day. It’s not fun.
THIS is why diets suck. Diets don’t teach you healthy habits. They teach you to rely on their system for your maintenance, which really doesn’t teach you anything.
When I did Weight Watchers after having Smalls, I lost a lot of weight. I felt awesome. But when it was time to maintain, I realized that I would have to count points literally forever. I don’t know about you, but I certainly did not want that to be the rest of my life.
The Truth About Losing Weight
Weight loss is not about diets…it’s about YOUR diet (and that’s not the diet that you think).
Weight loss is about eating smart, choosing whole foods, and avoiding processed junk (at least most of the time).
Weight loss is about fueling your body the way that nature intended: with natural sources of energy.
Your diet is what you eat and it shouldn’t be dictated by lobbyists, advertising, or celebrities.
When was the last time you saw a commercial about the benefits of grapes? Or cabbage? Or kale?
Whether you’re vegetarian, pescatarian, or a meat-lover, your food choices shouldn’t be dictated by those making money from cleverly masking the truth: weight loss is a personal journey, one that diet (what you eat, not whose program you follow) plays a small part of.
The rest is comprised of hard work, dedication, and movement.
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There is No Magic Pill
Nothing will make you lose weight happen faster…at least nothing sustainable and healthy.
But everyone seems to want that ‘quick fix’, and when you first try a “diet”, you will get results, but what are you really learning?
- That you only have 20 points every day?
- That you can still eat that cheeseburger…if you starve yourself the rest of the day?
- That all you have to do is spend $500 for pre-packaged, chemically-laden food to be delivered to your door?
What kind of lessons are those? If you want to change your body, you have to change the way you look at food. You aren’t going to lose weight and get truly healthy if you rely solely on what you eat, especially if you eat crap. Losing weight and changing your diet permanently is HARD work. But it is SO worth it.
Make Small Changes
The appeal of diets is that they literally do everything for you. These diets tell you exactly what to eat and when to eat it. Many even tell what you’re “not allowed” to have.
The only way to fix this vicious cycle is to break it.
Instead of relying on a diet to tell you how to lose weight, make small, manageable changes. Opt to eat a salad for lunch just once a week and see how you feel on those days (we already know you’ll feel better).
Opt to make one meal at home, or learn how to make 10 meals in an hour so that you can have homemade dinners instead of McDonald’s during the week.
Taking bite-sized chunks out of the weight loss overwhelm is far easier than doing a complete overhaul. Think of this as baby steps to getting healthy.