RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
Hitting Diet Rock Bottom
KATHERINE KIMBER, Registered Dietitian
January 23rd 2019
There will be a time in your life where you will eventually feel that “enough is enough” with trying to lose weight and keep it off long term (dieting).
It could be days, months or years before you get there.
It will most likely be after repeated attempts of dieting or restriction, only to become more and more frustrated with the results.
It will most likely make you feel like you’ve failed the diets (when in actual fact, the diets have failed you).
You will most likely never want to look at a diet again.
This is what we call hitting ‘diet rock bottom’.
It is an important step, because more often than not this is the time when you are truly ready to break up with dieting forever.
Do you think you’ve hit diet bottom? Let me paint you a picture of what it might look like for some people.
She’s a hard-working woman in her mid-50s with three children, an adoring husband and dog named Barry.
The thing about Emma is that she’s always dieted. It started as a young teen when she had to suddenly stop dancing competitively due to injury.
Without dancing in the picture, she became increasingly worried about her figure so took it upon herself to jump on the scales every day to monitor her weight.
She noticed the numbers increase and started to copy what her always-dieting mother would do at meal times. Emma stopped having toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and potatoes at dinner because “carbs are full of calories” her mother told her.
And this was the beginning of her relentless pursuit to make those numbers on the scale go down by dieting.
Throughout her teens and then in her 20s and 30s, Emma followed every diet out there. Each one with the same result – initial weight loss, then weight regain.
She couldn’t understand why. She would follow the diet’s rules precisely… for days and sometimes weeks. That was, until she would crave the foods that the diet said she couldn’t have. And those cravings would get more severe the longer she kept restricting. Which eventually led to binge eating on the foods that she’d deprived herself from eating.
Then after overeating, she’d feel guilty. She’d hate herself for failing her diet. She’d tell herself she had no willpower. But then she’d pull herself together and promise that the next day would be a clean slate to start the diet again…
And this would be repeated each and every time she was on a diet.
Now in her mid-50s, the effects of dieting have taken their toll. As a result of yo-yo dieting, Emma is now so preoccupied with food that she’s anxious at meal times and constantly thinking about what she can and can’t have.
She doesn’t like exercising.
She eats less food but weighs more than ever before.
She’s uncomfortable in her body.
She doesn’t trust her body.
She feels completely at a loss about what to do around food and can’t stand the thought of going on another diet.
She has hit diet bottom.
And this is not Emma’s fault. It is the world of dieting that has failed Emma.
This scenario is experienced by many of my clients.
The problem is that we live in a world where it is ideal to be thin. This culture (also called diet culture which you can read more about here) drives us to believe that dieting is the norm and being thin is the key to happiness and success.
But unfortunately, dieting is the very cause of health issues such as disordered eating, weight gain and decreased psychological health.
And it’s not until we hit diet bottom that we truly see this.
When we see this, we can open ourselves up to the alternative to dieting, which is Intuitive Eating – a mindful, evidence-based approach that teaches us how to respond to internal body cues and eat according to our individual needs. Intuitive Eating is the proven method to help people break up with dieting and heal their relationship with food and their bodies. You can read more about it here.
If you feel like you’re at diet bottom, I’d love to hear from you. Or if you’d like to learn more about how we can work together, sign up to receive my free download below!
Following more diverse bodies will help us all unlearn the falsehoods diet culture teaches us. Diet culture tries to tell us what it means to be fat in our society, but learning directly from the voices of those who live in a large body is far more important. Representation matters.
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Dietitian Katherine Kimber explains how to ditch the diet tools, meal planners, calorie trackers and points systems so you can eat with happiness!