It continues. The topic will never fade out of focus. Conversations are heard in the lunchroom at work, in the line up at Starbucks, in the teacher’s lounge at school, and in the kitchen at home. Diets. Although the word “Diet” has receded into obscurity because of our nutritional renaissance, we are merely masking it with other, more sinister words. Words like “keto”, whole foods, sugar-free, gluten-free, reduced fat, detox, and whatever else is in fashion this week. My point is…we are still talking about diets, and diets do not work.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, then the diet is your ultimate act of insanity. As habitual dieters can attest, the only promise a diet can fulfill is the sheer havoc it has on one’s mental health (not to mention the physical damage it does to one’s metabolism and other body parts). When we place our self-importance and value on the shape of our bodies, we will never feel valued or loved. Diets do just that; they place all the attention on short-term (a.k.a. temporary) body transformations that align with the cultural ideal. For a minute, we parade around the house in our skinny jeans that we NEVER thought we would wear again hopeful for a new and more successful life now that we lost the weight. For a minute.
I have made an assumption that we all know that diets don’t work, so I’m confused as to why most of the people I know and work with are on a diet. Is it the desperate hope that this one will be different? Is it the chronic emotional pain (a.k.a. emotional terror) that comes with living in a society that judges us so severely for being fat? Have we been brainwashed by the pseudo-scientific articles in the media that fat is bad and will kill us? All accounts point to yes. So what the hell? How are we going to change things? Is this even possible? I honestly don’t know. All I can do is get up every day and try to be kind to myself and kind to others.
Diets don’t work. I’m thinking the pain of being on one is less than the pain of working towards accepting the body we have now. It’s easy to restrict food for a while and lose the fat but it is one of the hardest things one can do when working towards body acceptance; to love ourselves as we are now. It’s also the healthiest and most rewarding. Nothing worthwhile is easy. So I’m going to end here with a question….
If you woke up tomorrow morning and you, and all the other humans in the world, would be the same size you are now for the rest of your life – without the possibility of change, what would you do differently? Would you exercise knowing it wouldn’t change your shape? Would you eat differently?
AND…what if all of a sudden the world shared the belief that every body is a beautiful body. That no matter what the size of your body you are accepted, loved, and even celebrated. No one would ever judge your body….would you wear different clothes? Would you try different activities or travel or go to the beach in a bathing suit?
Think about it….and put down that diet book.