Are you a woman? Do you live in our society? Perhaps you’re a man, or any other gender on the spectrum? Are you a human being alive today? Then listen up here!
You are living in a society that tells you what to find attractive, tells you what beauty is. Right now beautiful is thin, white and young, long legged, eyebrows on fleek, flowing hair, thigh gapped...you get the picture.
If you don’t fall into those categories, tough luck, you ugly girl.
But that’s ok, you can try to get those characteristics, right?
Or can you? And at what cost.
Let’s break down the thin category today. It’s one of the most pervasive beauty ideals and is a real money spinner for the diet industry.
A diet industry that last year, was worth $64 billion dollars.
What is the diet rollercoaster?
You want to look gorgeous so you go on a diet, because thin equals gorgeous (or so society tells us). You join Weight Watchers or sign up for some hot new juice cleanse. Everything feels hopeful and exciting. You lose weight quickly, the diet works! Why didn’t you do this earlier? You feel great!
Soon enough though, the sparkle dulls. The weight loss slows down, even though you’re still eating a meager amount of food and exercising loads. Eventually you throw the towel in and not long after that, you put on the weight you lost….and sometimes more.
You’re back where you started, feeling terrible about yourself, but it’s even worse because you weigh more and if you only were better, more dedicated you would’ve maintained the weight loss and finally be thin…would finally be gorgeous.
So you start again, this time on a new diet that will REALLY work. It doesn’t, because 95% of all diets fail.
That’s the diet rollercoaster of hell and millions are women are stuck on it and cannot get off. Some don’t even realise that this rollercoaster sucks balls and will continue riding it for the remainder of their lives.
Ok, so let’s lay some ground work here before I tell you HOW to get off the diet roller coaster by dispelling some super common and harmful myths we all hear errrrrryday.
Fat equals death
Numerous studies have shown that weight and health are not correlated. In fact, those who are “overweight”* live longer than those who are “underweight” and even a “normal” weight. The amount of fat on your body does not equate to how long you’ll live, what diseases you’ll get and your health status. This is so hard to get your head around though because companies, governments, your family, your annoying Aunt Gertrude all tell us that being fat is worse than being a kitten killer.
Thing is, happy and healthy fat people don’t make companies money.
And even if you are thin, there are other things the beauty industry will go after to make you feel insecure (i.e. all the beauty ideals listed above).
Anyone can lose weight, my Uncle Barry did, so you should too!
As we know, 95% of diets fail. And to be “successful” weight loss can be as little as a few pounds and on top of that, studies fail to follow the 5% longer than 2 years. On top of THAT a massive portion of the 95% end up putting on more weight that they started with. So Uncle Barry lost 10lbs on a diet last year, but what you don’t know is that he put back on 15.
You just need willpower!
People who can’t lose weight just lack willpower and are greedy….yeah, not so much. Fat people actually consume LESS calories than their thin counterparts because of being on the diet rollercoaster messes with your metabolism. Just check out these heartbreaking stats from the contestants, ahem victims, on The Biggest Loser.
Your body is so remarkable and looks after you all own its own. All it asks from you is to feed and water it, keep it warm and let it sleep. But we have to mess with it and try to override our natural instincts.
When we go on a diet our bodies think we are in a famine, and we are, a forced starvation. So what it does is magic; It holds onto the calories we do consume. It makes us desire calorie dense food, in fact, it makes us fixate on food and crave it like never before. Our body does everything it can to sabotage our efforts and help us “survive”. That’s why when you lose weight quickly on a diet and then plateau, it’s our bodies taking over and trying to stabilize our weight.
Then guess what our incredible bodies do? They increases our set point weight so that we are safer in case another “famine” comes along. It also lowers our metabolic rate so that now we have to eat less to maintain our weights. Our bodies are protecting us from these unstable environments. It’s a wonderful thing really, but totally the opposite effect people are trying to go for.
Your body is so smart. Let it do its thing. It knows what it wants to eat, what nutrients it craves, when it’s hungry and when it’s full.
We are bombarded from every angle with meal plans and food pyramids that we don’t need so we end up not trusting our bodies when they say “feed me, please!”
Just eat good foods and avoid bad foods
Little known fact: there were actually 11 Commandments, not 10! Yeah for some reason number 11 was lost through history but is indelibly marked on the brains of every good citizen of the world.
“Thou shall not eat foods that are delicious, for these foods are bad and you shall repent your sins by eating food that you dislike but is morally pure”.
Yeah, so there is morally “good” and morally “bad” foods! Who knew? Well apart from every single diet rollercoaster rider out there.
Now, this may come as a surprise to you, but food, is just...food. Just something to nourish your brain or your body, or even both!
You are not a bad person for eating a whole large pizza from Domino’s. In fact, I think that makes you pretty badass in my eyes!
You can use food in any way you wish, it’s your choice.
You may have to deal with people who don’t yet know this fact however and say things like “Do you really need to eat that” or “Did you know that donuts have a million calories”. This is one of the hazards of getting off the diet rollercoaster, but fear not, you will soon be strong and sassy enough to tell these bozos to relax to the max (they are probably on the rollercoaster too and not having a fun time either).
Everything in moderation
Why can’t you just eat things in moderation? A square of chocolate here and a salad there. No big deal.
But it IS a big deal when you and the whole world has been demonizing food for your whole life. It’s like the saying “you want what you can’t have”. You KNOW you can have as much celery and dust as your heart desires but you don’t know the same is true for “bad” foods. And that’s why we want to eat these so called “bad” foods. They are in limited supply, they are a treat, we mustn’t eat too much or the worst thing in the world could happen...we could get fat, oh the horror!
Imagine this: your favourite “bad” food is chocolate. You wake up one morning and find your kitchen cupboards filled to the brim with chocolate, all types, all your favourites and ones you’ve never tried before. You open the fridge and that too is filled with delicious chocolate cakes, chocolate mousses, chocolate pastries and eclairs. You run the tap in the kitchen and outcomes chocolate milk, a never ending supply. Every time you eat a chocolate it magically reappears, the supply will never dwindle.
You eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, if you DON’T eat chocolate you are insulted and told you should stick to your chocolate diet. The excitement soon wears off and you begin to start dreading your next meal. You notice that you’re craving other foods, but eat chocolate because you “should”.
You would do anything for a fresh crisp salad right about now, but you’re a bad person if you eat a salad, so you sneak it. You go to the salad bar and get a massive bowl, filled with sinful tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. You eat it quickly, hide the evidence and feel guilty. Tomorrow you’ll be extra good and eat more chocolate to make up for being “bad”, slipping with your chocolate diet at the salad bar.
This may seem bonkers, but this is exactly what we are doing to ourselves by denying ourselves certain foods. If only we knew that we had limitless supplies of chocolate AND salad AND any kind of food in the world it wouldn’t be so taboo to us. We wouldn’t desire it so badly, we wouldn’t dream about it, and fantasize about when we will be reunited with it again.
So, first step to getting off diet roller coaster of hell, you must realize:
FAT is fine
95% of diets fail
Your body will overpower your willpower
Food choices are not moral choices
Moderation only comes with food freedom
So how to get off the diet rollercoaster?
Eat all of the food. Everything. Listen to your body. When you have a craving then follow it. Welcome it, it is your body telling you what you need to focus on/what it needs/what you need to work on.
Don’t deny yourself. If you hear yourself say “Oh I mustn’t” or “I shouldn’t eat the whole thing”, then let yourself eat it, eat all of it and more.
Now, you may be thinking “If I let myself eat anything I want then I will eat forever and then will be so fat and will be totally out of control”.
Think back to those cupboards of chocolate, the never ending supply. Do you think that you would eventually get bored of never ending chocolate? Yes, you will BUT only if you fully allow yourself ALL of the chocolate not just one or two bars.
You may think you’re wildly greedy. You may be embarrassed but you must fill your cart at the store with anything your heart desires.
Once you feel secure in the knowledge that all food you love has a never ending supply you will start to desire it less. Your tastes will change. You will begin to crave different types of food. You may even find yourself not desiring any food, as all foods are neutral to you. Nothing tickles your fancy.
Eventually though, you will learn to trust your body when it tells you it’s hungry. Your body will begin to trust you too. Your body will no longer need to get you fixated on “bad” foods as it knows that you won’t ever put it back on that horrible rollercoaster ever again.
It will take time though, and it will be difficult. You will have to talk to those around you and tell them what you’re doing so they can support you.
You may have to avoid people who use food shaming language as you will be vulnerable for a while.
You may put on weight, but you will need to examine your own internal fatphobia.
You may lose weight and have to examine your happiness around this fact.
But the good news is that you now know that the rollercoaster you’re riding on is totally fucked, totally useless, totally damaging to your mental and physical health.
Now you just have to slowly get off it, find your footing, and begin to show your body that you truly love and trust it.
*"Obese", "overweight" and "normal" are categories within the Body Mass Index scale, which is scientifically unsound and total bullshit