Why Diets Mess With Your Mind
First, I want to ask a question and have you think about it. What happens to you after your diet is over?
Diets are so well known that everyone and their mother has probably been on one. They come and go as fast as the seasons change and yet, we fall for them every. single. time. They warp our minds with their ads full of already skinny, in shape individuals. Promising us that if you drink this shake, count these points, don't eat this or that, that we will look like the people on the ads. Right?! I mean... they don't necessarily come out and say it but it's some type of magic trick they pull on us. Seriously.
So here we are. We got all the items to make this 'diet' successful. We are so pumped up about it that we start posting on social media about this new life changing plan and it's going to make you a whole different person! We get all this praise from our peers and we dive head first into this amazing, mind warping diet. Then what? Life happens. We fall off the bandwagon. We finish and then gain all the weight back. We go back to our normal lives except we consider ourselves failures. We come to the conclusion that the 'diet' wasn't for us. That I'll never look like those people on the ads'. We start to blame ourselves, our self esteem lowers and we just stop trying altogether.
I am not just saying this stuff. I have been through it! I have been through all the fitness ends of the spectrum so to speak. I’ve been overweight, skinny fat, so thin that I looked ill, pregnant, post pregnant body and now I am at where I am. I am at a place of sanity and a place where I can love myself for who I am and not what diet I am trying to conquer. It has taken me years to be here. It has taken me my lifetime of saying NO to diets, NO to the women on magazines and NO to social media influences. I have done a diet that I think most girls have done and that is: the no eating diet. I feel like I knew what was best and that I knew that if I didn’t eat I wouldn’t gain weight. I was oh so wrong. There is one diet in particular that will hold a lasting impression on me and why I said “eff it” to everything that the ‘industry’ says was this: Fitness Competition Prep. I never partook in the actual competition aspect, that was my husband, but I did do the diet with him. Being on that diet was so hard and it was hard for a number of reasons. The most being it was so insanely restrictive. I had episodes where I would secretly binge on foods that we weren’t supposed to have, you know, the ‘bad foods’. The foods that will make you fat. The foods that if you eat them you immediately turn into the blueberry on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (insert eye roll here) It warped my sense of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. It warped my sense of me. It made me think that chicken and rice was life. That if I didn’t have asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower every night that I would somehow implode. That I would screw everything up! That I was a failure if I didn’t follow it exactly. That I was worthless, ugly and it would be one more thing to add to the list that I couldn’t accomplish. Do you see the how damaging it can be? Those aren’t even the worst of it though. The psychological effects that it has on the way you view your body is really what is damaging. My husband who was 100% on his competition prep diet, who did very well in the actual competition got to a point of a mental breakdown. A breakdown that has ripple effects on his life to this day. When I say ripple effects, I am talking about the daily struggle of looking at himself in the mirror and hating what and who he sees. Knowing how ‘ripped’ he was to gaining 30 lbs in a weekend shortly after. It messes with your mind. It makes you believe that if you aren’t on a diet that you can’t be skinny, you can’t be shredded or you can’t lose weight. It makes you think that without the diet you are a failure.
But, was it you that failed or was it the diet itself that failed you? It was definitely the diet that failed you! It happens over and over and over again. That though is why diets are so successful. That's why they have been around and will always be around. They sprinkle some sort of blinding fairy dust on us and we forget about the the basics of nutrition that we learn in school when we are kids! We forget about portion sizes, moderation and something called calories. Diets promise us all these things and they fail us every time. They don't tell you to exercise, they don't tell you about portion sizes, they don't tell you about calories in vs calories out. They don't tell you that depriving yourself of things will ultimately set you up for failure. They never will! They will continue to pull that sheet over your head and twist your thinking to make you believe that their diet will cure you of your weight, your body image and your self esteem.
So, here I am to tell you, ALL DIETS warp your mind. Don't let them. Save your sanity. Go back to the food pyramid. Go back to portion sizes and calories for YOUR body. Don't deprive yourself. Practice moderation. And most of all don't let a diet dictate your self esteem or your self worth. You are far better than that!