No Diet Day is, “a day dedicated to raising awareness of how unhealthy dieting can be harmful, or respecting and accepting body types, and promoting healthy eating rather than dieting. No Diet Day aims to help to teach people to have a healthy relationship with food, and to ditch restrictive diets and the harmful results they often have, such as anorexia and body-type perceptions in the media.” – daysoftheyear.com
Heather, You NEED to Lose Weight!
Ever since I can remember, I have been hammered with this thought: “Heather, you need to lose weight.” Not, “Heather, you may feel better if you lose weight” or “Heather, you would be physically able to do more if you lost weight.” The indication from society and my own beliefs were that I needed to lose weight. Without doing so, I would never fit into society’s version of “good enough.”
Like many, I dealt with my weight woes by adding more pounds. Food was a constant companion and it always made me feel better… for a few minutes. Then, the thoughts poured in. “When are you going to stop eating this late at night? When are you going to get serious about your health? When are you going to look the way you want to look? When? When? When?”
From the time I was a teenager, until now, I have made plans to lose weight. Sometimes those plans were sensible and other times… they were not. As early as the sixth grade, I can remember calculating how many calories I needed to restrict in order to take off pounds. I have fanaticized about unzipping a fat-pack from around my midsection and revealing a perfect abdomen. However, we all know that is not how it works.
Even though my age and my pants size correlated from the time I was twelve until the age of twenty-two, I still consider myself blessed – blessed in that I never found myself with a full-blown eating disorder. Considering how constantly weight and my size have occupied my mind over the years, it truly is a wonder and God’s grace. Since I began my weight loss journey eight months ago, I have battled temptations to starve myself (out of frustration) or severely restrict my diet. Even though my mantra from the start has been, “This is not a diet,” I still felt compelled to drop pounds… and fast.
Diets Do Not Work!
When you see yourself as not good enough, and weight as the problem, it seems like dieting would be the obvious answer; but, diets don’t work!
On a logistics end, they do not work because they do not teach us how to eat. They do not show us how to have a proper relationship with food. They make the goal about achieving a magic number or look, and not about gaining perspective and health. On a self-worth end, diets set us up for emotional failure. We see the end goal as a magical place – a place where we will finally be there. “When I see that 120 on the scale, I will finally feel free!” “When I weigh less than my husband, I will finally feel like a feminine woman.” “When this journey is over, I will stop questioning my worth.”
Unless we deal with our faulty beliefs about our worth, no amount of weight loss or body building will free us from our shackles of perfectionism. This article, The After Myth, hits the nail on the head. (Note there is one vulgar word; but, otherwise, the content was too good not to share.)
Be a Source of Encouragement if Your Sweetie is Struggling
As a couple or as a single, I hope you will embrace No Diet Day. If you have struggled with beating yourself up over your size in the past, I pray today will be the beginning of a new relationship with food. If you have been “encouraging” your sweetheart to lose weight and get in shape, have a discussion about this. Ask your sweetie how your encouragement has been received. Eric has encouraged me to lose weight over the years we have been together, but he is always careful to point out that it is not about how I look. He wants me to be healthy and he knows my relationship with food has held me back from living.
If you continue to struggle with an internal need to be perfect in how you eat or exercise, consider joining a support group or seeking out a supportive counselor. You are surely not alone, and a group or counselor may be able to help you uncover and heal from wounds that may be perpetuating the struggle. Though I have not sought official counseling over my relationship with food, I have received much unofficial coaching from friends – invaluable coaching that was well worth large dollar amounts. Hopefully, they will let me repay them in coffee. ~smile~
As it relates to your relationship, seek to always be a source of encouragement and a soft place to land. Having Eric’s support in this process and knowing he believes in me makes all the difference.
If you are concerned that your sweetheart is being too restrictive with calories, exercising too much, or you suspect she (or he) is struggling with an improper relationship with food, be the one to reach out and help. Even if your help is not received (or appreciated) immediately, she will know you are there when she is ready to take that first step. If the situation is dire, it may be time to stage an intervention with family and friends – talk with an intervention professional about the possibility.
Celebrate No Diet Day by listing what you appreciate about your body, by making a list of sensible changes you would like to make over time, and by enjoying a special treat with your sweetheart. Let us start thanking God for what He gave us and asking for His wisdom in how to maintain good health.
Do you have a proper relationship with food?