Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. I’ve gained approximately 8lbs in cookies and cake over the last month. I feel round. In prior years, I would be planning my super strict, lose 15lbs diet to start tomorrow. I am going to tell you why I’m not starting a diet tomorrow. Or ever.
You know those people who tell you all the success they have had on this amazing new diet that they can manage to stay on? I’m not one of those people. The longest I’ve ever actually followed a diet for is 3 days until I cheat and eat something against the rules.
When I think of my body being overweight, and round, and well… fat, I want to change it as fast as humanly possible. I want to eat salads, chicken, and water for the next month. However, I actually hate eating salads and I always feel hungry when I just eat chicken. Essentially, I want to punish myself now so that I can feel good later. Although this seems useful, it actually isn’t.
When I am punishing myself for being overweight and trying to make drastic changes to reach a weight loss goal, I end up rebelling. It feels like I am being told what to do and having to follow a set of rules because I have been bad. I am telling myself that how my body is right now is bad.
I’ve been through this cycle enough times that I know punishing myself with a diet doesn’t work. Dieting hasn’t worked well for me because it comes from a place of trying to run away from being overweight instead of moving toward a healthier feeling body. This difference can be subtle, but really changes everything. We can shift this mindset from running away from a body we hate to creating a body we love by asking ourselves why we want to lose weight.
This is where things can get murky. Sometimes the answer to why we want to lose weight might be “I want to lose weight so my clothes fit better”. That’s not going deep enough yet. If we ask “Why do I want my clothes to fit better?” or “Why don’t I just buy new clothes that fit my bigger size?” then we start getting closer to the real reasons we want to lose weight. We can continue down that road, asking “why” until we get to how we want to feel.
Usually, if we go deep enough, the answer to why we want to lose weight has something to do with wanting to feel attractive and loved.
You might notice at this point, that going on a diet and telling ourselves that we are “bad” if we don’t stay on the diet, makes us feel bad or not good enough. It makes us feel exactly the opposite of how we want to feel – attractive and loved.
Instead of going on another diet this January, I am going to start asking myself, “How can I feel love for my body”?
Does choosing pizza or salad feel more like love? Does going to the gym feel like love? Or does sitting on the couch and resting feel like love?