Weight loss isn’t easy. It’s really hard. It takes a full-time commitment, laser focus, and a lot of sacrifices. I used to think that made it a noble pursuit — an admirable, even enviable, way to live a life.
I no longer feel that way.
At the end of it all, what do I get? What do I have to show for my hard work and sacrifice? A step forward in my career? A marketable skill? The foundation for a fulfilling relationship with myself and others? A contribution to my community?
Nope. I get the privilege of defining myself by a NEW arbitrary number on the scale. I get conditional self-approval, which can and will be revoked at any time.
Anyone who has ever dieted knows that diets don’t end in closure. They end in white-knuckled insecurities:
- Fear of regaining the weight, and therefore losing the time you poured into this project…what was it all for?
- Frustration at not continuing to lose more and more weight…the goal weight never turns out to be satisfying, does it?
- All-consuming panic around food…how do you know how much to eat when you don’t have diet rules to follow, and also never seem to feel full?
Contrary to rosy weight loss propaganda, life doesn’t get better when you diet. It just gets more complicated. The simple joys in life become thorny: Holidays. Birthdays. Nights out with friends. Dates. Morning pancakes with your kids. Impromptu gatherings.
It all adds up to an unsolvable calculus that will take over your life if you let it. “Can I eat this? Can I eat that? How much am I allowed? What if this is the cookie that negates all my efforts? Now that I’ve already eaten the cookie that will inevitably ruin me, shouldn’t I just eat the whole box because I’m worthless anyway?” And on and on and on.
If you have found yourself backed into this corner, you know what comes next: Another diet. More structure. More rules. It’s the only option, isn’t it? Nope. What feels like a dead end is really a fork in the road: you can go on another diet, or dare to imagine a world without them.
Don’t sacrifice 90% of your life to weigh 10 pounds less. The fleeting approval from the bathroom scale pales in comparison to what awaits down the road less traveled — the one without diets. Instead of feeling a temporary difference in the way your jeans fit, you’ll feel a lasting change in your mental acuity, in your approach to the world around you, and in your ability to be present in this, the one and only life you will ever get.