It’s the beginning of January, which means one thing: we get seriously seduced by diets and the hope that THIS is the year we’ll finally fix our food/weight/body issues.
Everywhere we look, people are raving about about the new program that has worked for them.
“You should try the Keto diet!” Your friend excitedly tells you. “I’ve lost 20 pounds and feel amazing.”
You mutter something under your breath and try to end the conversation as quickly as possible.
You walk away wondering if you should jump on the bandwagon…
After all, if you struggle with your weight, it seems so EASY to just do a diet for a bit, lose the weight, and THEN deal with your food stuff.
But remember the Law of Dieting: for every equal and opposite diet, there is a binge.
If you go “on” something, you MUST go “off”. And the off usually includes frenzied inhaling of food that we hadn’t allowed ourselves in the weeks we were on the diet.
So how do you begin to let go of weight loss as your goal, especially this time of year?
When you get tempted to diet or focus on weight, remember these 3 things:
1. There will never be a point you reach where you’re “done”.
I used to fantasize about the day I’d be “done” with my eating and weight struggles.
In the midst of doing the hard work to let go of binging and dieting, I desperately wanted it all to be over with.
But here’s the reality: our bodies will never stop changing.
Yes, we can hold the vision of getting to a weight that’s comfortable for our bodies. But even then, our bodies will still change.
We don’t get to a point where it’s static. We age, we get pregnant, and our bodies look different than they did at 38, 25 and 18. A traumatic life situation hits, we emotionally eat and gain a few pounds. Work gets stressful and our healthy habits go out the window.
Life is an ebb and flow. And so is your body. When you want to get “there” (i.e. your weight loss goal) and then never think about food again, gently remind yourself that it’s not how this process works.
(**I know, I know. When I first heard this, I wanted to run away screaming. I desperately wanted to believe in the illusion that you can get “there”. But when I began to embrace this truth, it shifted my focus from weight loss to healing.)
2. It’s more complicated than “eat less, lose weight”.
If weight loss were easy, then ¾ of the population wouldn’t struggle with food and eating issues. We’re conditioned to think it’s so simple: just eat less, cut out carbs, toss out sugar, and BAM-weight loss is yours!
If I were to cut out sugar for a week, by day 3, I’d be running around screaming like a toddler throwing a tantrum, tearing couch cushions off the sofa, hell bent on finding candy I KNOW must have fallen into the cracks a few weeks ago.
The weight loss formula seems easy, right?
Wrong. We use food to numb out, to stuff emotions, to deal with stress, and to cope when life gets hard. After we lose the weight, we STILL have the same patterns & habits…and we’ll get to the end of the diet and say “well, now what?!”
So if we shift the goal from weight loss to health, to nourishment, to satisfaction, then it isn’t a black or white, all or nothing process. It becomes a way of learning how to find YOUR version of health and “normal” eating 🙂
3. The goal is a moving target. Which means you’ll never be satisfied.
When I had excess weight to lose, I 100% believed that I just needed to lose weight and then I’d feel MUCH better. If you had told me to not focus on weight, I probably would have punched you in the face. (Kidding :))
But then I lost 10 pounds. And 5 more. And 5 more. I got to my “goal” weight. And then I wanted to lose more. 20 wasn’t enough. 25 became the new goal.
It’s a target that is continuously moving. Because the real issue isn’t the weight. It’s what we’re doing with food that we need to address.
That’s not to discount needing to lose weight for health reasons.
It’s only to say that the REAL goal is health, not weight loss. You can lose weight and not be healthy. And you can be overweight and still be healthy. If our goal is health…then if we make healthy choices for a day, we’re already “successful” in our goal.
This time of year is ALWAYS hard, as the diet industry dangles out our deepest hopes on a string right in front of our faces: “lose weight, you’ll get the body you want!”, “finally be happy with your body!”.
But I promise you, the more you resist, the more you’ll understand that there is no instant, quick fix on this journey.
But the payoff for sticking to this path…? Freedom, deep self-acceptance, and greater love for yourself than you ever thought possible.
And isn’t THAT worth it? 😉
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which number resonated with you? How are you shifting your focus off of weight? Share in the comments below 🙂 (And if you do need support on this journey, you’re welcome to check out my resources here, here and here).