“After the holidays I’m not going to eat any more of this,” my husband said as he put cake in his mouth.” “In January it’s carrots and beets with no cheese, no meat, and no fat. A few weeks of that and we’ll lose this weight,” he said pointing to his stomach.
“That’s fine for you,” I said a bit panicked having experienced that way of eating in past years. “But I’m not going along. I’m not going on another diet.”
There. I’d said it out loud for the first time.
My words fell into the room with a thud.
Then tere was argument, followed by cajoling. Finally, shame. “It’s like you’re giving up,” my husband said accusingly. “Maybe I am. But I won’t diet again,” I repeated with a firmness that surprised even me.
Being a smart man, he dropped the conversation. I didn’t bother to explain to him how dieting had worked for us only in the short term. How it drove my emotional eating and led to binges. Or how it negatively affected my self-trust. He wouldn’t have understood anyway. All that counted is that I understood.
I realized in that moment that I didn’t need his – or anyone else’s – approval to stop dieting. And that’s the moment that changed my life.
I knew then that I had the power to make all of the decisions around my body. After years of diets, I was not thinner. Nor was I healthier or happier. In fact the opposite was true. Dieting might work for others. It might help me fit in when the rest of the world is on a diet. But dieting wasn’t working for me.
Stating my intention aloud solidified my commitment. As if by magic, I started paying more attention to how my body felt and what it needed. I became more conscious of deprivation and enough-ness. I started attending to my needs – both physical and emotional. What had eluded me during the first years of exposure to intuitive eating suddenly became natural. It felt like I had burned a bridge and had permission to fully embrace this new way of being with food and my body.
Now ask yourself – what could a commitment not to diet do for you in the New Year? What could open up in your life if you chose respect and acceptance over continued abuse of your body?
For me, making this commitment and saying it aloud was the moment my life changed for the better. As for my husband, he continued dieting for a few more years but now he follows my lead and doesn’t go there anymore. We’re both happier and healthier for it.
Instead of making another doomed dieting resolution, maybe it’s your time to say out loud, “no more diets?”
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This week I’m re-reading The Big Leap – Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life To the Next Level by Gay Hendrick after recommending it to a colleague who is experiencing renewed emotional eating while in the midst of expanding her business. It’s insightful for anyone who wants to outgrow old limits in the coming year.
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