Diets Don't Work
Dear Fellow Seekers,
Diets don’t work and they never will. I’ve tried all sorts of diets my entire life. I think the earliest program was Slimfast, when I was eleven years old. I went every week to weigh in with my Mom and Grandma. Then afterwards, we’d go to McDonalds for a Big Mac. Crazy, huh? I started exercising when I was thirteen and have been ever since. I actually lost weight at first but I gained it back and a little more.
Throughout my teenaged years, I began the cycle of binge eating. I would sneak into the kitchen after everyone was asleep or just out of the house, and I’d proceed to eat large portions of cookies and then chips and back to something sweet. Afterwards, I always felt guilty for my “weakness” and lack of control. I knew it was odd that I’d stuff my face even though I wasn’t hungry. I just didn’t know the act had a name—compulsive eating. I realize now that I was using food to mask my anxiety, anxiety over school, boyfriends, family issues, you name it. Food was my “drug” of choice. I didn’t go on many formal diet plans for years, but I was constantly starting a diet on Monday or after a holiday and would count calories, fat grams, etc.
The reason I didn’t balloon up too much was because I’d exercise and also “control” my food about 90% of the time. I probably went to my first Weight Watchers meeting some time in 1999. I started doing the point thing. I again lost some weight but I could never get to my goal weight because a binge always interfered. I was envious of those normal eaters that got to goal weight and had somehow figured out the whole food fiasco.
But had they really? I don’t think they possessed any more control or discipline than I did. Maybe they were just able to cope with life better, or perhaps they were using another “drug” of choice to cope, like cigarettes or alcohol or drugs or gambling or sex, etc. Maybe they had just traded one addiction like food for something else like coffee and nicotine. This seems to happen frequently. I could never get to goal weight because I’d binge and sabotage my efforts. Counting points and calories, fat, fiber, and on and on, just seemed to feed my compulsive nature instead of help me. If I didn’t do the diet perfectly, then I failed
and just gave up. Diets also made me feel deprived. Right before joining a twelve-step program in August 2002, I had tried Lean for Life for one month. I binged three days before and after the diet. I was fed up! I prayed that God just show me the way to healthy eating and a healthy body perspective, and I said I give up. I was sick and tired of the obsessive food thoughts and harsh criticism of my body. The next day I got the idea to call the twleve-step program.
That is when my life really started to change. Diets don’t work and they never will because they cause you to feel deprived, as if you are being forced to let go of certain foods—foods that provide you comfort and safety. The only way to let go of unhealthy coping habits like overeating is to search within yourself for the answers to why you eat. More on that next time!
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Peace & Blessings,