Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
3 reasons why stopping dieting is hard
by Harriet Frew on January 22nd, 2020

You’ve meticulously read the anti-diet books from cover to cover. They stand proudly piled on your bedside cabinet, key phrases annotated in pink highlighter and noteworthy pages book-marked and available for instant inspiration, as needed. These books are a crystal-clear reminder of your life changing declaration to yourself and others. No more diets for you.
And what a contrast: - you reflect over the last few Januarys, noting how they have each been deeply associated with a specific regime.  Cleanses, Keto, paleo, shakes and sugar-free; you’ve always had something on the go.  But not this year!

And surprisingly, you’ve even survived the incessant diet chatter of the past month, drawing on your new determination and resolve. It has in fact, been quite a relief to be disengaged from the old water cooler diet chat. You’re pleasingly an anti-diet newbie; fresh faced and determined to reject the old ways for good.

A few weeks in though, you’re struggling to maintain your anti-diet stance. You’ve even had a few sneaky Google searches ‘how to lose belly fat really fast’. You’ve found yourself feeling conflicted and disappointed that you’re not sticking to your guns. You can’t quite fathom why this anti-diet business is harder than you thought.

Some thoughts on this:
  • 1. You purpose and identity. For as long as you can remember, you’ve either been on or off a diet, or plotting and planning your next one. Although this has been an uncomfortable mood rollercoaster of sorts, giving catastrophic lows, with intermittent fleeting highs; this way of living has defined you. It’s offered a structure and purpose to the fabric of daily life and has become a way of bonding with others. You might be known as the ‘one that’s weird with food’; ‘the one that doesn’t eat cake in the office’ or ‘the one that’s the fit gym bunny’. Although a part of you loathes these pigeon holing labels, they have also become a part of you and your identity. Who am I without scale hopping or calorie counting or food obsessing you wonder? Being anti-diet feels wishy-washy and less defined.
  •  2. The mindset hangover. When food has been associated with sky rocketing levels of guilt, better matched to someone committing murder, it’s pretty darn hard to shake this off quickly. The black and white diet thinking: ‘I’m a greedy person for eating this’ or ‘I’m a saint for drinking my green juice’. Or ‘I’m so good at keeping to this diet’ or ‘I’ve completely fallen off the wagon and failed, as a human being’.  These thought patterns will be wired strongly in your brain, having built up with years of repetition. Not surprisingly, dichotomous thinking patterns will take significant time to blur towards helpful shades of grey. And you will likely need to proactively practice the mindset work to find this grey in the first place.
  • 3. Time. It probably took you several months (likely years) to immerse yourself in the grimy depths of diet culture. You were unconsciously and consistently reinforcing the beliefs, behaviours and thinking that saw dieting as ‘good’. Alas, this cannot be reversed immediately.  Instead, expect it to be a plodding marathon rather than a dashing sprint. If you can lower your expectations and engage with the long game, this will massively help.
It takes time to move away from diet culture and establish a healthy relationship with food. Don’t give up on it though, as the long-term benefits are absolutely worth the investment. Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself in this process; as one step forward and two steps backwards is the norm. Seek out support through other people on the same journey and work to put the blinkers on, to the old seductive diet triggers.

You will get there with consistency and a commitment, but it will likely be a gradual dilution of symptoms, rather than an overnight transformation.

Posted in Dieting, Giving up dieting, Motivation and change    Tagged with anti dieting, anti diet, dieting, diet, new year diet, black and white thinking, change, time


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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.