There are words that need never be said. I am committed to avoid the use of words such as “ugly” and “fat.” Worse than hurtful, they are not useful, especially with regard to the wondrous function of the human body.
The word I most enjoyed banishing from my personal glossary—“diet,” as in, “I need to go on a diet.” Used in that context, “diet” represents restriction, frustration, and guilt. Whether the goal is to lose eight pounds or 80, these words make the process more arduous and might possibly be the nudge that sends us—butt over band box—off the wagon.
Diets have a way of making us feel bad about ourselves, like we aren’t worthy and must change in order to be accepted. It’s usually when we’ve been overtaken by frustration and guilt that we give up, and go back to our comfortably destructive habits—only this time feeling like a quitter, bearing a little more shame.
The online database PubMed highlights a study done through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill regarding women’s attitudes and behaviors about shape, weight, and here comes the “D” word, dieting. Of the 4023 women surveyed, ages 25 to 45, a whopping 74.5% reported that concerns about their weight and shape interfered with their happiness. In line with recent studies, my personal field studies conducted with clients suggests the average diet lasts about two weeks. If you do the math, that’s approximately 854 days or almost two and a half years spent feeling bad about yourself.
But the thing about life is this: It’s a practice. And for every diet you’ve started and stopped, you’ve practiced self-mastery—even if only for a brief time. The March 20, 2012 Huffington Post UK tells us that by the time the average woman is 45 years old she has been on 61 diets. So if you’ve been on several or even dozens of diets, that may not be a bad thing—after all, practice makes us better. As you look back on all the diets you’ve been on in the past, see them as training. You may have learned a few things about yourself and self-awareness is what helps us move forward living the lifestyle that we were meant to live. It’s how we find our authentic self and end up in the body we want to have.
I move that we all stop using the torturous term “diet” and forever abandon the seductive, false promises of short cuts to miracles. Have the courage to say, “I’m making some adjustments” or “I’m tweaking my food plan”—however you say it—the words should feel powerful and right to you. Because you are uniquely you and diets are not one-size-fits-all. The more we know about ourselves, the more effectively we can adjust our behavior. Rather than start a diet, create a lifestyle.
Weight management happens one adjustment at a time. Caring for your body is not only a joyful process, it raises the happiness set-point exponentially. If we can let go of the painfully looming threat of going on a diet, it becomes easier to sensibly decide on the adjustments we need to make. And whether it’s one adjustment you keep in your head or an assembled list you check off regularly, without the frustration and guilt, your chances of success are higher. After all, it’s you’re your plan. Very personally yours.
Love & health,
LOA BLASUCCI is an author and owner of All Health’s Breaking Loose Wellness Retreats. Gotoloa.com.