Letting go of dieting is a huge risk. It's like going into the great unknown.
Even though you can see dieting for the mindless, life-sucking ploy it is, it's still very familiar.
You pretty much know what's going to happen: a lot of sacrifice, some weight loss, a few compliments, followed shortly by falling off the wagon, the weight comes back, and then you hate yourself.
And the cycle repeats over and over again.
Even though this cycle is frustrating, it's the only way you know how to relate to food and to your body, so it can feel dangerous to let it all go.
Weight loss, and the dieting required to sustain it, is woven into the fabric of our culture. The fact that we're obsessed with weight loss, thinness, and 'health' is unmistakable. Just pick up a magazine, scroll through your social media newsfeeds, or turn on your TV...diet talk is everywhere. It's hard to escape and it seems like everyone is doing it. At it's core, dieting is an act of violence against yourself. It encourages you to go against your body's own wisdom and interferes with the ability to have a peaceful relationship with food.
But it's still VERY tempting to think "it'll be different this time", and take the plunge again.
It's also very risky.
Because when you let go of the diet mentality and the constant quest to lose weight, you take a chance that:
-your "ideal weight" may not be as low as you hope it is
-your co-workers will wonder what the hell is wrong with you when you don't participate in the office weight loss challenge
-you'll have to confront parts of yourself that dieting usually distracts you from
There's a lot at stake.
So why in the world would you do this??
First, I encourage you to look back on your experience with dieting and weight loss.
How has it benefitted you? How do you feel about yourself when you're dieting?
Then, I want you to think of letting go of diet mentality as an experiment or even an adventure. Think of it as an exploration into unchartered territory where eating and exercising aren't as stressful or fraught with fear; a place where you can look in the mirror and not hate what you see and you can contribute to the world and your own life in a meaningful way.
Take a chance on living the life that diets promise, but never deliver on.
There's no doubt that this is a radical path. To abandon a way of thinking that has been a part of your life for decades is not easy.
It's not quick.
It's not comfortable.
But it is possible.
Are you willing to let it go and see what's on the other side?
Until next time,
P.S. If you want to begin unlearning harmful messages about food and bodies, check out Write To Get Free. This is a self-paced 4-week experience where we use writing to explore themes like truth, anger, reclamation, and liberation from diet culture.