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Ninety-five percent of diets fail.
Knowing this, why do so many of us continue to diet and then blame ourselves when we inevitably fall off track?
Let’s talk about the three key reasons why we can’t get off the diet train.
1. False Sense of Control.
If the world feels out of our control, we turn to something we feel like we can control.
What is something within our control? Our diet and our body.
We get pleasure (small hits of dopamine) from planning out how we’ll eat perfectly and stick to our diet. We create a false sense of calm and convince ourselves that by sticking to our calories, macros, and meal plan that admits chaos, we can find and achieve order.
The problem here is that we’re not dealing with the real issue—the internal chaos.
When we learn how to self-regulate our inner world (our nervous system and subconscious beliefs), then there ceases to be internal chaos, and in doing so, we stop seeking to control our outer world. As I teach clients, we will never be free by implementing control.
2. False Promises.
“Once I get to this place (goal weight and perfect diet), I’ll be worthy, lovable, and good enough.”
This is perfectionism.
If I am not lovable for who I am, I will become lovable for what I look like and what I can achieve.
But perfection isn’t real and external perfection will never fill in an internal void (what dieting attempts to do), which means we’re chasing smoke.
When we inevitably fall short of eating and looking perfect (because we’re human), we think it’s that we just weren’t “perfect enough,” didn’t have enough willpower, and we blame ourselves and try again (the diet culture trap).
But we’re not broken: it’s the pursuit of perfection in the form of the perfect body and diet that is broken and in need of fixing.
One of the ways I work through this with clients is through achieving radical self-love.
Radical self-love is rejecting an oppressive culture that has deemed us unworthy and in need of fixing. A culture and a system that have ranked our value to the world based on the color of our skin, our gender, and our body shape.
If we stop ranking each other on worth and instead work to believe we’re enough as we are, then dieting and its false promises cease to appeal to us.
3. Release Responsibility.
We rob ourselves of the ability to truly live because we are waiting for the day when we’ve reached our dream body through our diet.
Dieting is releasing us of the responsibility for our happiness and our life right now because we refuse to show up fully, telling ourselves that one day we’ll do it.
“I can’t do x until I lose weight.”
“I can be x until I get my eating under control.”
Stop waiting on weight to start living.
What opportunities (career, family, friends, and so on) were missed while we obsessed about what we ate and what we looked like?
This is your permission slip to stop dieting and start eating and living intuitively.
Trust yourself and your body—only you know what you need. Not a diet.