For a huge chunk of my life I addicted to a drug that occupied most of my thoughts and energy. That drug? Dieting.
Dieting is a normalized drug in our culture.
There was a time when I loved nothing more than the excitement of making meal plans, tracking calories, stepping on the scale, telling all my friends about the dangers of gluten and getting validation for having “control.”
There was a sense of euphoria associated with the prospect of having the body I wanted and imaginary perfect life that would go along with it. There was a sense of power that I got from being on the moral high-ground of my dietary choices. It was a high.
Weight loss is the urge and dieting is the drug. We chase after the high by adjusting our macros, tracking our food and tweaking our exercise or supplement regimes to alter our body size. We get a rush from seeing our pant size go down. We support and cheer on others who are doing the same. It’s addictive.
Of course, these feelings and behaviours are fleeting so we chase them by “starting over” and “tweaking” what we’re doing to reignite the excitement. We fall off the wagon and get back on, over and over again.
Dieting distracts us from the discomfort we feel in the present. It’s a way for us to feel safe and protected. As long as you’re dieting, you’re conforming.
It gives us purpose and fills a void. Who are you without dieting and an ever-present desire to lose weight?
Even though negative thoughts dominate our mind, there is always the drooling anticipation of our “perfect” body and “perfect” life on the radar that keeps us hooked. It gives us a false sense of fulfillment from the monotony of our everyday life. We think, “just this one last diet” and then I’ll be done with it! Just like that last drink or last hit.
Physiologically, there is a valid explanation for this. This “wanting” of the being thinner and the privilege that goes along with it lights up the same place in our brain that is responsible for our other cravings and desires. And we get hooked on it.
Psychologically, dieting is a way to “fit in”, make yourself more likeable and avoid social rejection. We’ve learned that weight loss is a way to control our destiny. Rejecting this and leaping into the unknown is not easy.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a hard drug to quit. You have to hit a point where you are DONE. WITH. IT.
Where you are so sick of your body dictating your emotions. Where you’re ready to believe that your purpose in this life is so much bigger than being thin. Where the thought of another stretch of “clean eating” makes you want to suffocate yourself with your tupperware. And the fear of staying stuck where you are is greater than the fear of letting go.
Are you done with it?
Trust me when I say, it’s worth it.