Why We Fall For Fad Diets

Despite all the publicity about fad diets not working, we keep falling for the undeniable lure of the newest diets’ promising claims.

We rush out and buy the magazine or the book or the program and give it the laser-focused attention we create when we’re wishing the promise is true! We’ll do anything to change our bodies, and keep hiding for the truth that we have negative body image.

I used to love the feeling of hope that flooded my body right around this point. It usually lasted for about three days before the little whisper of ‘just have a little bit of [your favourite food], it won’t hurt’ became so loud and insistent that I couldn’t stop myself. Only of course, the little bit breached the crack in my discipline and I gradually (sometimes in a flash!) returned to my normal eating habits. Of course I was swathed in guilt and self-criticism for being so weak, again, and feeling like a complete failure, again!

I must have gone through that cycle about 20 or more times, I’m too embarrassed to count up how many times, to be honest. I know that amongst my friends it was the normal pattern: hope, real effort, and a crash after just a few days or weeks; only to do it all again a couple of months later.

Why do we do it?

1. Everyone does it, don’t they? It’s become usual behaviour for women in our culture, but I truly believe it’s not ‘normal’.

2. Because we have negative body image, we think we must change our body to something smaller, less bulgy-in-all-the-wrong places. If we don’t change, then we criticise ourselves in the harshest way, and accept criticism from others, for having no self-discipline. Doing the latest diet is a way to tell yourself, and others, that at least you’re making an effort.

3. We are so used to seeing thin beautiful women perfectly presented, that we think that’s how women are supposed to look. Actually, we know only about 1% of the women on the planet look like that (and even they are Photoshopped). We just want to feel like we’re one of them: successful, desirable, probably wealthy, and happy.

So what we’re actually trying to change is the way we feel about ourselves, to improve our body image.

It is really difficult and painful to admit that the real change we need to make to feel happier is inside ourselves, not outside. It’s much easier to grab at hope presented in a diet.

One day something in me snapped. It just felt wrong to be constantly battling my body, measuring my self worth against a clothing label or a number on the scales. It felt to me like there was a huge chasm of something ugly between what I knew was possible for me in my life, and the pressure to keep fighting my body into ‘shape’.

On that day I decided to not weigh myself anymore, to wear what actually fitted my body regardless of the number on the label, and try to find some peace with the decision. Ah, you’re saying, she gave up. Lazy cow.

Gave up what? Constantly criticising myself, eating ridiculous and often toxic ‘foods’, obsessing over every morsel of anything that crossed my lips even to the extent of writing everything down! That is not living, that is unhealthy on every level.

Dr Peter Clark from the Eating Disorders Centre in Sydney, quoted in Kaz Cook’s Real Gorgeous in 1996, said he believed almost every woman has an eating disorder. In 2011, do you think he’d still be right? With hindsight I think I did have disordered eating, so did most of my female friends and acquaintances – and most of them still do! Nothing has changed for most of them, except they’re probably more unhappy, more unhealthy and more self critical.

I know I’m still working on happiness, every day. Try this:

Think of one thing about yourself that you like. Now I’m not talking about the shape of your knee or the curl of your eyelashes. I’m talking about, say, your ability to make a new person feel at ease in a minute, or how you notice that a child is struggling with something when no one else does, or how you always remember people’s birthdays. Something you do or a way you are.

And just for today, every time you notice yourself saying something awful about your body, add on: and [I’m so kind to new people]. That will start to introduce a new energy into your being, and start to pave the way for greater self-acceptance. As one of my clients said recently:

I do not make the demeaning comments to myself anymore… and funnily enough, I am not eating as much anymore either! This is no less than freedom. Freedom to be who I am, proudly, without judgement… the weight just takes care of itself!

Are you one of the millions of women who look in the mirror and hate what they see? You’re not alone and it’s not your fault! Get Ten Tips to help you Love Your Body, free! Sandy Kumskov is a body image coach who helps women ditch the diet, and find peace in their own body. To find out more visit [http://bodyblisscentral.com/sya].

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

"I want to see this market as a sharing market. Where merchants and customers sincerely support one another."

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