I was listening to something recently and heard this phrase:
“Don’t Create Weight Loss in a False Setting.”
As a coach, countless women share their struggle about weight-loss with me. Especially when we first start working together. But even throughout our program, I see my clients go through the process of letting go of diets for good. Letting go of that “hope” that diets can bring.
That HOPE that this diet will make your body smaller and in your smaller body you will be happier. Everything in life will be more manageable. You will be powerful. In control. Everything will be better.
THIS hope is the lie of diet culture. It’s the reason we all START a diet. And another diet. And another diet. It’s the HOPE it brings. Which, understandable, is then the hardest part to let go of when leaving diets behind.
It’s a struggle not to believe this lie. Being a woman, it’s a struggle I know all too well.
Here’s what I witness my clients go through as we work together…
They see a friend dieting and losing weight and instead of noticing this with an envious eye (“I should do that too!” – which is what my clients would once do) they begin to watch with a curious eye (“What’s going to happen? How’s this going to turn out?”).
“Okay, they’ve lost some weight on this diet. What’s next? What’s going to happen three months from now AFTER the diet? Before I get all ‘this diet is the answer!’ let me see how this plays out.”
Every single time, they’re affirmed. They’re affirmed that what they came to me for – leaving diets behind and learning to listen to their own body – is the right path.
They see the struggle their friend/sister/aunt/mom/colleague goes through and it hits all too close to home for them. They remember the misery of their diet days.
When we’re obsessing over a diet that once made us lose weight and we’re convinced we should probably diet again, we’re only remembering the best parts of the diet.
For example: we’re remembering the few days or weeks where we weighed less; or, the time we tried on those smaller pants and they FIT; or, the feeling of seeing the scale go down, even just a pound.
If you’re trying to move away from dieting, yet you’re also stuck in a space of craving to diet again, perhaps you’re remembering the “best parts” about dieting.
You’re NOT remembering how hard it was; how hungry you were; how focused on food you had to be; the events you skipped out on; the feelings that came after the diet or when you fell off the diet; the binges it inevitably caused; the way you never quite felt satisfied with yourself.
From afar, my clients can see that hopes are high in the beginning. If the dieter sticks to it (which gets harder and harder to do over time) they may lose weight. They feel good for a few days, riding the high of having lost a few pounds. For a moment, they feel successful.
Then regular eating sets back in. They haven’t made sustainable changes. They haven’t learned to listen to their bodies. They’re deprived. They excitedly begin to enjoy their “favorite” foods. For a few days, they exercise “will power,” having only a little bit of those foods that they consider “naughty.”
Then, the reigns are loosened. They fall back into their black and white eating habits; the trap of “if I’m going to eat it, I may as well eat it all! And if I’ve already eaten it all, I may as well keep going until I decide to be good again! Which is promise will be in the morning.”
They’ve lost weight in a false setting so inevitably, the weight comes back, plus more.
The cycle continues. They’re hard on themselves. Plus, they now have a higher standard to live up to – not only do they still want to lose weight, they now feel that they CAN because they’ve created this weight deficit in a false setting. They feel like they SHOULD be smaller, naturally.
They haven’t learned to trust their bodies, rather they’ve forced control into their own hands. They haven’t created a more positive relationship with their body, rather, they’ve only become more critical of themselves.
They begin to feel that it’s THEIR fault they’re not losing weight. They obsess over this smaller version of themselves thinking “Why can’t I just stay there? Why am I so out of control? What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?”
They never changed the way they thought or felt about themselves. They never worked on their values. They never worked on listening to their bodies.
Instead of tuning-IN, they tuned-OUT.
And again, they’re stuck looking for the answer that is going to help them to maintain the results of a diet, permanently. Ultimately, that’s what they’re seeking a diet for. And they cannot see the pattern themselves.
They cannot seem to see that every time they’ve gone on a diet it has ultimately led them to be disappointed.
As my clients watch this from afar, silently, they notice the cycle. They see the cycle they were once stuck in so clearly. They see what this friend is going to go through over and over again if they refuse to work on the sustainable results and only focus on “quick (non-lasting) results” from diets.
If they refuse to work on changing their relationship to food.
From this place, my clients are able to let go. They’re able to feel SAFE moving forward in creating a positive relationship with their bodies. To find what works for them and learn to honor THAT consistently.
They feel safe to leave diets behind. And even if they go through moments of grief in leaving diets behind they become more concerned with primarily caring for their future selves and creating sustainable results in a REAL setting.
They become more concerned with creating a TRUE environment in which their bodies can shed weight, if they’re meant to.
They focus on tuning-IN and taking the absolute best care of themselves that they can. They focus on finding what feels good. They make nothing off limits, and from this place they find the freedom to eat and do what feels good.
They begin to think about food LESS and about their LIVES more. They tune-IN.
They focus not only on tuning into their bodies around food, but tuning-in around other non-food areas of their lives: the amount of fun they’re having; connection; relationships; money; career; self-care; self-compassion; working through fears; etc…
As I describe the friend that my clients choose to observe rather than envy… perhaps you’re thinking “this is me.” Or, “this was once me, but I’m beginning to move away from this place.”
Perhaps you’re ready to stop; to move forward for good. You’re ready to stop the cycle that keeps landing you in this place of disappointment. You’re ready to jump off this diet train and jump onto the train that will bare fruit for the rest of your life.
You’re ready to jump into THE TRUE SETTING of your life. To make sustainable changes from a place of love. To love yourself up. To get to know yourself. To get to like yourself. To talk to yourself in a way that empowers you when you’re stuck vs. constantly criticize yourself.
THIS is the setting that my clients are working toward. The road isn’t perfect, but the wonderful thing is that they’re on the road that will reward them for a lifetime. They’re on the path that keeps on giving.
Do not create weight-loss in a false setting.
Does the phrase resonate with you, as it did me?
Can you see how diets set us up for disappointment? Can you see how they create very short term weight loss and lead us through a vicious and continuous cycle over and over and over again?
Can you see how even when we do lose a little bit of weight, how quickly it can go away and lead us toward a path of feeling badly? Like it’s our fault for not “being in control”?
Can you see that diets are not a reliable/sustainable way for us to feel better about ourselves?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. If you’re ready to jump OFF the diet train and onto the train that will bare fruit forever, I would love for you to request a Discovery Session with me. I would love to support you in choosing a new path, for good. Request a Discovery Session here – I can’t wait to meet you and support you!