”Realize that failing at a diet is not about lacking willpower, diets are set up that they fail people.”
How many times have you “failed” at dieting? I think it’s safe to assume you’d say, “As many times as I’ve been on a diet.”
You may have considered some of the diets you’ve been on as actual successes. If this is the case, what is your definition of a “successful diet”?
I’ve talked to many people that tell me about the diets or programs they’ve been on that “worked.” They usually say, “The [name of diet] worked for me – I lost 30 pounds – but I blew it as usual, and the weight came back, plus more.”
Can you see the problem with this thinking? How can a diet be successful if the weight comes back? But I do understand this thinking, and I know exactly why it persists. It’s all part of the diet mentality.
Diet mentality is comprised of several ways of thinking (such as black and white thinking) and beliefs (including rules and ‘shoulds’ about food and eating).
One major belief of diet mentality is that you need willpower to “control” your eating and eat less. Another is if you “fail” at a diet (which happens at least 95% of the time), it’s your fault – it has nothing to do with the diet – you are the failure. I hear it all the time, “I really blew it on my diet, I need to have more willpower!”
The fact is, however, that willpower isn’t necessary to make peace with food, or to lose weight. Willpower implies suffering, which most diets require. You can’t eat just because you’re hungry. If you’ve eaten all you’re allowed for a given day (according to the diet), you can’t eat any more. Otherwise, you’ve “cheated,” which brings you back to thinking you need more willpower!
The idea of failure, especially that YOU have failed, is the way the diet industry keeps you coming back, diet after diet after diet. The truth is that all diets, every last one, have failed you!
This idea that you’ve failed is pure manipulation and it drives me crazy. The larger diet companies use manipulation and shame, as marketing tactics, to ensure their customers keep coming back.
After one diet fails, they tell you that you just need a little more willpower and you’ll lose all the weight you want, and, you’ll live happily ever after as well. Another way they entice customers back is with their “new and improved” programs. These programs usually have an impressive name or added gimmick that they imply is “the solution” or “missing link” to finally losing weight and keeping it off.
Diet companies know their programs don’t work. They also know that in business, it’s easier (and less expensive) to keep a customer than it is to obtain a new customer. If they keep their customers coming back, they’ll have a higher profit margin, which makes all involved happy, except the customer, who ends up gaining the weight back, if they lose any, and the added bonus of more guilt, shame, and feeling like a “failure” once again. Additional shame comes in the form of thinking about how much money money has been spent trying to lose weight, only to end up often at a higher weight than when the dieting began.
It’s disgusting that the diet industry continues to get away with all these lies. What other industry would survive with a consistent 95-97% failure rate? If 95% of all iPhones didn’t work, could Apple actually convince you that it’s your fault and you just need to try harder to make it work?
Just because you haven’t been able to sustain any weight loss that came through dieting, it doesn’t mean it’s your fault. But if you continue to believe it is your fault, the diet industry will continue to flourish and profit – and you’ll continue to be stuck in diet prison. In addition, millions of women and increasing numbers of men will continue to put their lives on hold, not fully living until they lose the weight, which will never happen on a long term basis through dieting.
If you haven’t yet, I invite you to reject dieting in all its forms. Quitting the diet roller coaster is a huge step towards taking care of yourself and your body. It will reduce stress – on your mind and body – which allows for mental & physical healing, and will give your metabolism a chance to get back to normal.
The best part of rejecting diets for good? You can finally live your life now – no more waiting to lose weight before you start living again. Ironically, living your life now may be just what your body needs to actually start releasing the weight you’ve been trying to lose through dieting, restriction, deprivation and forced willpower.
Don’t put your life on hold another second! Dieting will only support the dieting industry and allow it to continue to control your thoughts and how you feel about yourself!
Coaching Question: What would your life look like if you gave up dieting? How much extra time would you have on your hands? What could you be doing with that time?
Take out a piece of paper and write down all the things you have wanted to do but haven’t had the time. Make sure these are things you WANT to do. Dream – money is no object here.
Now pick one item from this list, something small and doable, and the next time you are compelled to search for a new diet, start beating yourself up for what you ate, or have a “fat feeling,” distract yourself by engaging in the item on your list.
After you do this once, you can do it again! Eventually you won’t think about dieting or losing weight each time you have a few extra minutes or when an uncomfortable feeling comes up. It works!