Okay sisters, I had to do my duty and write this article for you because we’ve just entered into another New Year. And with each New Year we embrace, we often set ourselves up for failure by committing ourselves to a bunch of miserable “resolutions” for the upcoming year. One of these is almost always:
LOSE WEIGHT by going on a diet
Now I don’t want to imply that losing a bit of extra weight is a bad thing, because often, it’s a good idea and makes us feel better physically and emotionally. It’s just the way we go about losing weight that concerns me. In fact, I wrote an entire book on it: It’s Not About the Food: A Woman’s Guide to Making Peace with Food and Our Bodies which may help you sort your head out when it comes to healthy relationships with food and weight and body image. One of the main chapters in my book is entitled; “Why Diets Don’t Work” and I’ll give you some good reasons not to put “go on a diet” on your New Year’s Resolution list.
Why Diets Are A Bad Idea
Dieting can become habit-forming and if you think that sounds like hyperbole, consider some the stats that I outline in my book:
- At least 50% of young girls in Canada begin dieting before the age of nine: 81% of 10-year olds diet and at least 46% of 9-year-olds restrict eating.
- The fear of fat is so overwhelming that young girls have indicated in surveys that they are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of cancer, nuclear war, or losing their parents.
- Eating disorders are now the third most common chronic illness in adolescent girls and have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
So why is it that every New Year’s women in particular are constantly resolving to lose an inch here and a few pounds there? I have come to notice a pattern: colder weather and easing up on being physically active, coupled with the copious holiday festivities, results in most women gaining an extra 5-10 pounds. Come the end of December, we stand in front of our full-length mirrors full of self-recrimination at the fact that we look slightly ‘puffier’ than we did last summer. Then comes the inevitable pledge to ourselves- the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution” to lose X pounds by X date (fill in the blanks)…
Then we enthusiastically (or solemnly) embrace the latest fad diet with intense resolve and determination; often starving ourselves until we’ve lost the amount of weight we set out to. We are pleased with ourselves for a short time at our accomplishment, only to be deflated of all hope when a few weeks/months later we’ve regained back all of the original weight plus more!” But as any serial dieter knows, diets don’t work! 95% of dieters regain all the weight lost plus add a few extra pounds each time they diet. This is why I want to remind you of why you should permanently give up dieting.
Esther’s Top Five Reasons for Giving Up Dieting (any time of the year!):
#1: Learning to love and accept yourself just as you are will give you self-confidence, better health, and a sense of well being that will last a lifetime.
#2: Diets are expensive. If you didn’t buy special diet products, you could save enough to get new clothes, which would improve your outlook right now.
#3: Diets are not sexy and they don’t make you beautiful. If you want to be more attractive, take care of your body and your appearance. Feeling healthy makes you look your best. Remember this: 98% of women are not built like fashion models and come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the majority of these women are not thin.
#4: Diets are boring. People on diets talk and think about food and practically nothing else. There’s a lot more to life than food.
#5: Diets can turn into life-threatening eating disorders. The obsession to be thin can lead to anorexia, bulimia, bingeing, and compulsive exercising.