Have you tried every diet under the sun and failed* each of them? Find yourself uncontrollably eating after a few days or weeks of dieting? If you’ve answered YES to both of these questions, you need a hug. Your foodways have been stressful and I think you can find health in another way. And, I think you are at diet rock bottom.
I first heard this term from the non-diet pioneer, Evelyn Tribole, co-author and dietitian of Intuitive Eating. Diet rock bottom is a common place for those who chronically diet and can be stuck there for eternity. And, realizing you are at the bottom, you can also choose to reclaim your natural footing with food and your own body wisdom. Let’s explore this space for a few moments.
First let’s address diet failure*. With each diet beginning, it cloaks all of us with a seductive hope of skinny success. I personally believe this hope also translates to other areas of our life not just weight. Feeling like a successful dieter provides a visual of a successful academic, career woman, and happy lover.
If we appreciate how that seductive hope dips into all these other areas OUTSIDE of food, we can really start to understand how starting a diet is really a fantasy. And with that fantasy, I think it also promotes a sort of mindfuck. Here’s why:
Our bodies are programmed to survive and dieting kicks in our pre-programed physiology to not continue with this self-destructive behavior. Our bodies do not like diets. It kicks in primal programs to be OCD like around food. I firmly believe this OCD happens because we evolved this way and this behavior kept our ancestors alive. When you feel what feels like a binge after dieting for a portion of time, that’s not you failing. That’s you being human.
In order to heal your relationship with food, you will need to not focus on weight loss. When I first started working with people affected by binge eating, I used to try and help people focus on both: healing and weight loss. What we found? Focusing on weight loss makes bingeing so much worse. I find it high jacks the efforts and sabotages any healing. You may find exceptions to this yet I want to point out you’ve dieted much of your life. It is time to accept this doesn’t work for you. And, of course, you are not a failure. You are part of the rule NOT the exception.