For those of you living in Britain, you’ll know the weather has been pretty nice recently. The hint of sunshine has got me thinking about the summer to come and more specifically, how women will soon face the ‘Shape Up for Summer’ adverts and articles: AKA encouragement so start yet another diet, but as we all know – diets don’t work. For those of you who are still on the diet/binge/hating your body merry-go-round, here’s a reasons to stop dieting today.
Diets don’t work
I’ve covered this topic a fair bit in previous posts, so won’t go into it in a huge amount of detail again. That said, I think the following statistic speak for themselves: 97% of people gain back any weight that they lost (and then some) within three years after a diet. That’s if you can even manage losing the weight to begin with because as I’m sure you know by now, diets are nearly always impossible to stick to. This leads me nicely onto reason number two on why you should ditch the diets.
Food is amazing
Come on let’s face it, being on a diet is a complete bore because food is simply incredible. There is so much more to food than it just being a source of fuel for your body. Whether it’s a tasty pub lunch, a slice of home-made cake or a very lovely full fat vanilla latte picked up on your way to a lecture – food is a hugely enjoyable part of life. At least it should be.
Have you also thought about how big a part food plays in our lives? We celebrate the birth of our children with christenings, usually followed by a party and lots of food and drink. When a loved one dies we offer food at the wake as a part of the mourning process. In-between the beginning and the end of a life we celebrate weddings, birthdays and anniversaries; all with food (specifically cake). To deprive yourself of food on such occasions is to deprive yourself a full life, of feeling; both the good and bad. We can eat to live, and live to eat simultaneously, despite what those crazy thinspo slogans tell you.
You will stop binge-eating
When you give yourself permission to eat foods you consider ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’, basically anything that you consider to be off limits, all food becomes equal. Therefore foods you used to go crazy for lose a lot of their appeal. Let’s use that story about naughty Eve in the Garden of Eden as an example; she only wanted the apple because she wasn’t allowed to eat it. The same way you only want those Oreos because you don’t allow yourself to have them on a regular basis. Then you go crazy and eat a whole pack because you know your diet will start again tomorrow and it’s your last chance to eat them. So the cycle continues…
You will love your body
You diet because you want to lose weight, which means you diet in order to change your body; essentially to change yourself. By dieting you are doing something with the aim to change who you are, not just what you look like. What this says is that you are not okay now, exactly as you are. For the record ladies, you are more than okay. You are amazing, right now, not 20 pounds from now.
You will realise other people love your body
I debated including this one as I’m a firm believer that the only opinion that matters regarding your body, is of course your own. However I recently saw a statistic that 4 out of 10 women are embarrassed to be seen naked by their partner and that makes me so incredibly sad. Your sexual partner, whether that be your husband or someone you’re only seeing casually, should be someone who respects you entirely. Therefore being intimate with them should feel both comfortable and natural. Sex is one of the few free things in life that is there to simply be enjoyed. So ladies, please start enjoying your bodies… and all of that physical exercise.
You will be more fun and have more fun
Everyone knows that incredibly boring person who is forever on a diet. If they’re not explaining how this new diet works or why it’s different from all the other diets they’ve done previously, they’re snubbing tasty food and making you feel guilty for eating it around them. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you could indeed be that person. I was that person and can honestly say that I have a lot more fun and actually enjoy my life, now that I am no longer constrained by dieting. Going for a tasty meal and plenty of cocktails with a friend is what life’s all about. Believe me, letting your hair down feels good.
You will realise being thin won’t change your life
When I’m thin I’ll change my job. When I’m thin I’ll feel sexy. When I’m thin that guy will finally fancy me… and so the list goes on. The thing is, the only person who’s stopping you living the life you want to live today, is in fact you. Women of all different shapes are considered sexy, successful, clever, funny, beautiful. Despite what you have been led to believe, size actually has very little to do with other peoples perception of you. You can be the person you want to be today, not when you hit your ideal weight.
Hands up. I used to be so guilty of this one. Since I’ve accepted myself entirely, I feel more confident, beautiful, capable and excited about life than ever before. I think letting go of the “When I’m Thin” myth is the most important thing you can do to heal your body image. A lot of the time, thin is a word that’s interchangeable with happy.
What changes do you need to make to your life to in order for you to feel happy? When you have identified what it’s going to take to make your life one you want to be living, make those changes, today.
You will focus more on present relationships
Diets are the ultimate distraction from life. Adding up all those calories, points, syns and working out what you can and can’t eat takes up a lot of time. That’s half the point of dieting; filling your mind with how much you can and can’t eat distracts you not only from major problems in your life, such as the fact you may hate your job, but also your relationships with others. Ordering cake with your coffee might be a pleasant distraction from someone who’s company you don’t enjoy. However such distractions stop you from questioning why it is you don’t enjoy that person’s company. Is every person in your life someone that values you, as much as you do them?
Also, think about how much time it takes you to input those calories into myfitnesspal. Are you missing out on your children playing, your friend’s laughter, your dad’s bad jokes. Are you missing out on those seemingly insignificant moments in the pursuit of perfection? They may seem unimportant when you’re main goal is to get to your ideal weight, but I bet that at the end of your life you would give anything to experience those little moments with loved ones again, not staying under your calorie allowance for 4 days on the trot in 2010.
You will question what you truly want out of life
I despise the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”question, but just think about all the things you have promised to give yourself when you reach your ideal weight. What do you think would happen if you went for everything you wanted out of life, not when you’re ‘thin’ but right now? I know the answer to that: Your life would be amazing.
How do I know that you may ask? I know the answer because I have walked the walk and talked the talk. Letting go of the “When I’m Thin” myth allowed me to identify what I wanted out of life. Before I did this my only hobby was dieting, my life goal was to be thin, my entire existence revolved around a dream. Letting go a few years back of this unhealthy obsession allowed me to identify what I want out of life. I have gained so much more from self acceptance than I ever have when I’ve reached my goal weight. So I dare you, do something today you have ever only dreamed about in your “When I’m Thin” dreams!
Life is too short.