“It’s not you, it’s me.”
Isn’t that such a classic break up line?
Well, when it comes to dieting, it just isn’t true. In that case, it really is a “It’s not me, it’s you” type scenario. And let’s be honest, every diet deserves to be broken up with.
Here’s the thing, though. The diet industry is the ultimate in gas lighting. It sells us it’s schemes and when we inevitably fail, it makes us feel like there’s something wrong with us–a lack of willpower, food addiction, laziness, gluttony, etc. It then uses that shame as a selling point for the next diet. The cycle repeats itself again and again until we either die, or realize how insane it all is and give it up for good. (I advocate for the second option.)
Diets don’t work. If they, did, we wouldn’t need a 72 billion dollar weight loss industry selling us gimmick after gimmick, each promising to be the ultimate solution. The very reason we have so many different diets is because none of them are effective, and we’re programmed by the media to search out the elusive elixir/pill/plan that will solve our weight problem. But the diets actually just make us worse. They harm our health and actually lead to gaining back even more weight than we initially lose while dieting. It’s all really sad.
Eating disorders aren’t the same as diets, and I’m not trying to make them out to be. However, most eating disorders start out with a person’s desire to lose weight, leading to food manipulation, which snowballs out of control. In my own experience, my weight loss efforts were successful at first. But eventually, my anorexia transformed into binge eating, purging, and other types of disordered eating behaviors, which many people find themselves dealing with after a period of food restriction and weight loss (hallmarks of anorexia). Low calorie diets (or diets that involve restricting macronutrients like fat or cabs) trigger a biological drive to eat. Dieting is unnatural, and our bodies know it. They fight back. Haley Goodrich once said that dieting is like fighting biology until eventually biology wins (or something along those lines.) I appreciated her words so much because I found them to be really humbling and accurate. God designed our bodies (biology) to be wired for survival. That’s good news, because He is for us, not against us.
So anyway, the purpose of this post is to serve as an encouragement if you are currently feeling defeated by your weight loss efforts. Your feelings of failure are just that–feelings. You haven’t actually failed. You’re simply another victim of a system that is designed to ambush you. The diet industry’s marketing efforts are literally designed to appeal to your emotions. I’ve worked in the food industry, and I know this is true because I’ve participated in it. (Thankfully, I’ve never been asked to design ads that appeal to emotions for the purpose of selling weight loss; for me, it was just breakfast cereal.)
You are good. Your body is good. And you don’t have to keep making yourself sick in order to ‘fix’ yourself because you and your body are not broken.
For more encouragement in understanding your God-given right to food freedom, I encourage you to check out my devotional: Faith, Food, Freedom. I also wrote a book on this subject, titled Fulfilled, which is available for pre-order.