Have you ever been in an unhealthy relationship that was a beast to get out of? I was, and it took me 25 years to finally break it off.
It was a turbulent relationship that was filled with emotional highs and lows.
It was a union I assumed I'd be in "till DEATH do us part", but thank God it didn't last that long.
Like many women and girls, I spent the better part of my life in a love-hate relationship with the constant pursuit of weight loss and the perfect diet.
This was probably the only relationship in my life that, when I was in, I was ALL IN. My commitment to being less fat, and therefore more beautiful, was my numero uno priority.
When the number on the scale was where I wanted it to be, I was in a honeymoon phase. But when the digits were higher than they were yesterday, last week, (or even earlier that morning), I spiraled down into a cavernous hole of shame and self-loathing.
At times, it felt like I needed the strength of a thousand men to pick myself up and move on with my day.
Over the years, I tried to take "breaks" from weight loss and dieting. But you know how that goes, right? The "let's-see-other-people-for-a while" phase lasted about 10 minutes. As soon as I felt lonely, or unlovable or not as beautiful as someone else, we were back together again, locked arm in arm, gazing into each other's eyes like high school sweethearts.
This relationship with dieting was killing me. All the back and forth was slowly eating away at my soul. I knew the only way to end this misery was to permanently cut ties with something I'd been intimately involved with since I was 11.
It wasn't easy, but it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Now that I can see clearly, I know that dieting was like the bad boyfriend my mother warned me about, complete with all the empty promises and half-truths, but none of the hot sex and fast cars.
For many women, it's NOT easy to end the relationship with dieting and weight loss. It can be scary and confusing to leave such a dysfunctional, but familiar, relationship behind.
The desire to jump back on the wagon every Monday morning is so seductive, you wonder if it's even possible to live life without it.
Here's why it's a struggle to let go: when you believe that your worth as a human being, as a woman, is tied up in the size of your thighs, it can be difficult to walk away from the thing that reinforces that belief.
I have 2 pieces of good news for you:
1. It is absolutely possible to leave dieting behind: I had a relationship with dieting that lasted for more than 2 decades and I don't miss it at all.
2. You will come out stronger: Just like in other relationships, there are lessons to be learned and difficult times to be grateful for. This breakup can reveal who you REALLY are and the beauty that already exists inside you.
I'd love to give you a 5-step system that you can use to start the process of breaking up with dieting. I wish I could tell you exactly what you should do. But the truth is: everyone's diet breakup will be different.
There is, however, ONE important thing you need to know that will help you get the ball rolling:
You can walk out and never look back. You don't need permission from your mother, father or even your therapist.
You can decide to no longer be held hostage by the rules and myths that keep you searching for your worth in a number on the scale.
You have ALL the power. Use it.