3 Ways Serial Dieting Devastates Self-Esteem

3 Ways Serial Dieting Devastates Self-Esteem

3 Ways Serial Dieting Devastates Self-Esteem

 

 

Imagine this:

 

You hate your body. You hate that you are fat.

You look in the mirror and wish that you looked like the women in the magazines.

You wish you looked like Jo at work.

You wonder what people must think of you?

You decide (yet again) that you are going to lose weight.

You buy in lots of fruit and vegetables and crispbreads…..oh and a cauliflower to make some rice (??!!?)

You have a light breakfast, and a light lunch.

You still feel slightly hungry.

You feel virtuous.

You’ve been so ‘good’!

 

 

At 4 o’clock you are even hungrier and eat an apple……and a couple of cookies.

Now you feel awful.

Why did you eat the cookies?

You wish you had more willpower.

You hate that you just can’t seem to do this weight loss thing anymore.

You wonder what’s the matter with you?

How come she gets to eat cookies and still be slim?

How comes it’s you that’s lumbered with the fat body?

 

You hate your stupid body. You hate yourself.

You’ve ruined it all again.

You wonder why this happens every time.

What’s the point in even trying?

You’re such a failure.

You can’t get anything right.

You’re fat and ugly and a waste of space!

(Or words to that effect)

 

 

Maybe you don’t need to imagine?

Maybe you’ve lived this many times yourself? 

And maybe as a result of being a serial dieter, you have even  lower self-esteem than you might otherwise have had?   

Here are 3 reasons why this is the case for the majority:

 

 

1. As a serial dieter you have chosen to buy into the idea that your body is not good enough as it is. This makes you feel bad. It make you feel like there is something wrong with you.

It’s hardly surprising that so many of us feel this way given the disproportionate amount of visual images and messages out there, promoting the super slim ideal.  We have been conditioned to believe that super slim is the normal way for a body to be.

But is it?

In the UK, more than 50% of women are a size 16 plus.  So in reality, if you are a size 16 or above, you are in the majority.  Surely that means you are the norm?

(Please note: there is an alternative way to think about your body.  You could choose to think that your body is a good body and that it does it’s best for you. You could decide to accept it as it is and treat it well in lots of ways.  Just saying…..)

 

 

2.Being a serial dieter means that you are spending a lot of time thinking about your body (and your whole self) in a negative way.

Obviously not conducive to high self-esteem.

This can also lead to social anxiety; worrying about whether you’ll be the fattest person in the room. Worrying about what people will think.

Will they think you are greedy or lazy or stupid?  And maybe the bigger problem is that your own internal voice is telling you similar.

 

 We have to remember that the stuff we are telling ourselves, is simply not true.

 

We are definitely NOT stupid (My proof? 4 out of 5 of the Chasers in the UK general knowledge quiz show are in larger bodies. And they are super brainy!).

Most fat people I know are no ‘greedier’ than slim people- in fact if anything they have spent more of their lives restricting the amount of food they eat. This implies ‘not greedy’ in my book.

Studies show a link between dieting and binge eating disorder; it seems that it’s the act of dieting itself, which warps our relationship with food.

Anyway, I hope I’m beginning to convince you to be less negative about yourself? It’s not your fault.

 

 

3.There is no surer way to feel a failure than to repeatedly try to lose weight and repeatedly fail!  And there’s no surer way of lowering self-esteem, than feeling a failure!

And here’s the thing: the HUGE majority of people who do try to lose weight……fail!

Not because they are failures, but because the concept of dieting fails them.

Now I could go on to quote the statistics (95% of those who lose weight put it back on again within 5 years if not sooner), but do I really need to?

Look around you…..how many people do you know that have lost weight in the past, only to regain what they have lost?  It’s not that they haven’t tried, is it?  So listen folks- it’s NORMAL to regain the weight.  You are in the majority. You are NOT a failure.  Full stop. Period.

 

In conclusion – as far as self-esteem goes, being a serial dieter gives you yet another stick with which to beat yourself.
Maybe now would be a good time to  put the stick down?

 

 

Boost your self esteem and change your life for the better

I am running a 3 week online programme called Self-Esteem for Serial Dieters
It starts on June 24th 2018 and will be jam packed with ideas, techniques and support.
If you are ready to believe that you are more than good enough just as you are, then this programme is a no-brainer.
Click >>HERE<< for more info or to sign up.
(Offer-only £47 for the first 12 to sign up)

 

 

 

 

Why Slimming Clubs are GENIUS!

Why Slimming Clubs are GENIUS!

 

I didn’t join a slimming club until I was 31 years old.

 

(Well unless you count the time in my 20s when I joined with a friend, ate only cottage cheese for a week, lost 7lbs, was too embarrassed to stay for the talk because I was awarded ‘slimmer of the week’, and scuttled off giggling to buy some chips.)

 

Anyway I bit the bullet in my early 30s and joined again.

 

At the time I was at rock bottom regarding how I felt about my body and my size.

I was determined once and for all to do whatever it took to rid myself of my fat, and the shame, embarrassment and self hatred that came with it.

 

That first meeting though!

 

Oh my, it was excrutiating!  I was horrified at  being weighed by a stranger!   Mortified does not even cover how I felt at the number actually being written down!

After the weigh in, I thought I’d be able to slope off like I had that time in my 20s.  But the leader this time was much firmer and made me sit down for the ‘talk’!  All credit to her!  In doing so she got me in the habit of staying for the weekly meeting.

 

And what a revelation to discover that I  liked it!  I liked staying for the meeting talk!

For the first time in my life, I got to listen  to other people talk about how they struggled with food, and with how they felt about their bodies.

For the first time  ever I realised that I wasn’t the only one to feel intensely ashamed of my body.  I wasn’t the only one for whom the ‘eat less, move more’ philosophy seemed so much more difficult than it sounded.

 

The community element of slimming clubs is GENIUS!

 

I was hooked!

 

And this time round I ‘successfully’ lost weight.  (Don’t get too excited- my story is no different to anyone else’s.  Keeping the weight off proved to be it’s own challenge!  The ‘genius’ doesn’t extend quite that far.)

 

Now not only did I think I’d found the ‘answer’ to my weight loss prayers, but I LOVED the meeting environment too.

I’d found my kindred spirits!

Just like me, the other members too felt shame.  They too ate in secret.  They too binged.  They too lived in fear of other people judging them for their size.  They too cried when they looked in the mirror. They too pretended that it wasn’t them who had eaten their child’s Easter egg!!

 

I basked in the praise!

 

In the early days when I was ‘successful’, I felt like the star of the show.  I can honestly say I’ve never had so many compliments.

Everyone in the slimming club meeting was in awe of my transformation, my willpower, my commitment!  The praise, the compliments and attention made me feel great.  The shiny stickers I received for every 7lbs I lost, were addictive!

Honestly, it felt like the most amazing achievement of my life.

 

NO one praised me that much when I got my degree or my promotion or even after giving birth.

 

However once I started to struggle with maintaining the weight loss, the compliments dried up.  BUT I still had my community of fellow Weight Watchers.  And as I say I LOVED being part of that community!

 

We ‘got’ each other.

 

We encouraged each other when we ‘failed’ to stick to the plan.

We encouraged each other whether we lost weight that week or gained!

We talked openly about our relationship with food.

We could be honest about our emotional eating habits, and about our low self- esteem.

And often we were able to laugh at the ridiculousness of how we thought and how we behaved.

 

And this is the bit that slimming clubs have got absolutely right (BTW  I do know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea!)
BUT for the many women who rejoin slimming clubs time after time, the group support and sense of community make it feel like a safe, encouraging and nurturing  place to be- regardless of whether or not they manage to achieve their weight loss goals. (And the stats show that most do NOT achieve long term weight loss success.)

 

I myself felt so ‘at home’ that 7 years after joining, I managed to almost get to ‘goal’ again, just so I could become a slimming club leader myself.

 

I worked in this role for 13 years!!  Mostly because I loved the meetings and loved talking with the members.

 

The truth is I continued to subscribe to something that had stopped working for me many years previously because:

 

a)  It had worked for me once and

b)  I LOVED being part of the community.

 

Of course I know now, that for me and for most other slimming club members maintaining the weight loss is pretty much impossible.  And it’s not just slimming clubs that fail to deliver long term weight loss.  All diets fail. Our bodies’ weight regulation system in the end is the winner. It ensures that we regain weight lost to take us back to within the range of our set point weights.

 

But yet in spite of this lack of long term weight loss success, many members rejoin slimming clubs multiple times.
Is it partly that they feel safe in an environment where others understand them?  Where they don’t feel quite so alone? I believe so.
And crucially, historically there have been few other spaces for larger ladies to congregate and bond in this way.  Like I said- GENIUS right?

For me for many years the benefits of the community, outweighed the humiliation of being a slimming club leader who was unable to maintain her own weight loss.

But you know what?  Nowadays there are increasing numbers of online communities that offer similar support, but are there to help us escape diet culture. Now that’s what some might call progress!

If you’d like to be part of my NEW supportive community, which will help you leave diet culture behind, and if you’d like to learn to accept your body just as it is then please click the link to join my FREE private facebook group- Time To Heart Your body and Live Your Life

 

And let me know about your own experience of slimming clubs in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

A letter from your fat wife.

A letter from your fat wife.

 

 

Dear Husband of mine,

Thank you so much for loving me for the last 34 years.

It can’t have been easy to be married to a fat woman.

 

By the time we met at age 20, I was already lacking in body confidence.

I first understood that I was fat when I was 7 years old. It was from that point onwards that I became body conscious and started to compare myself to others.

 

I’m not sure that I ever told you about my anorexic behaviours?  They persisted on and off, from my fourteenth year to when I was 18.  And you definitely don’t know that I dabbled with bulimia for a year whilst I was at university.

I don’t even think that you knew how self conscious I was, eating in front of people.  I felt comfortable eating in front of you though!

It’s how I knew you were ‘the one’.  (So many other reasons too of course!)

 

I wonder if you understood why I behaved the way I did?

….why I was jealous if you even glanced at another female. Terribly jealous.

I know at times I was irrational, temperamental, moody and yes spiteful too.  I was prone to shouting and crying.  I wasn’t always easy to live with.

I wonder if you realised that I behaved in this way because I was afraid?

I was afraid you’d realise that there were better girls than me out there.  And that you wouldn’t want me anymore.

 

But you married me anyway.

 

I wanted to be a size 12 on our wedding day. You told me I looked beautiful in my size 16.

And after we were married I no longer worried that you’d leave me.  I felt secure.

 

But my lack of body confidence still caused issues.

You wanted to have holidays abroad.  I didn’t.

I made excuses about money and the children being too young.  But truthfully,  I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I knew I’d be comparing myself to other women in swim suits. I didn’t want to be reminded that I wasn’t good enough. I was ashamed.

 

Over the years I’ve made excuses not to socialise.  I’ve avoided reunions for the same reasons.  And in the process you have ended up missing out too.

 

 

Becoming slimmer caused it’s own issues.

As you know I lost some weight when we were in our early 30s. But I feel sorry now that during the ‘weight loss years’, I wouldn’t allow us to go to an Indian restaurant because of the calories.  You mentioned going so many times, and I always said ‘When I’m back at goal again, we’ll go!’.

Well that never happened, so we never went.

We didn’t have takeaways ever either.  Often I ate differently to the rest of the family.

I became a bit obsessed I think. (‘You think?’ I hear you ask!)

 

I remember you once saying to me ‘Don’t worry about it so much!  Just live a little!  We don’t know how long we have left on this earth!’

And you were so right.  The weight gradually came back on anyway, as it does for most of us who lose weight.

It seems the deprivation wasn’t worth it.

 

We’re in our 50s now

And finally I have started to see things your way.  I have left diet culture behind me and I am learning to embrace my body just as it is. My days of restriction, food and otherwise are over.

It’s taken me SO many years to get to this point of self acceptance. I now know that my body is love-worthy.  It’s beautiful in it’s own way. It allows me to do everything I want to do.

And let’s not forget the magnificent work it did in growing our 3 wonderful children.

 

It’s time for us to start to really enjoy life.

 

I’m sorry it took me so long darling.

A few years ago I might have thanked you for loving me inspite of my fatness.  But now I realise what you knew all along- that me and my body were always worthy of love, no matter our size.

 

 

If you have let how you feel about your body hold you back from living life to the full, and from taking proper all round care of yourself, sign up for my FREE short online course here>> Self-Nurturance for Serial Dieters

It starts on Monday 4th June 2018, you won’t need to leave the house and you get to keep the course once the week is over.

and join my free Facebook group- Time to heart Your Body and Live Your life

 

Desperately seeking ‘THE ONE’!

Desperately seeking ‘THE ONE’!

 

Desperately seeking ‘THE ONE’

 

Have you ever desperately been in search of ‘the one’?

The magic bullet that will make weight loss easy?  Your ‘soul mate’ diet if you like?

I still get odd times where I wish ‘the one’ existed (even though I know it doesn’t!) – I think many of us do!

Hard not to when we are constantly bombarded with seductive ads for weight loss, and so many different and ‘new’ plans all claiming to finally be THE one!

 

Some of us misguidedly believe that we have found the one- the diet plan (or slimming company)  that worked for us once (perhaps twice), many years ago!

We believe if we could just stick to it, it would bring us happiness again just as it did the first time.  We believe that there must be some imperfection in us, that prevents us from being successful with it- after all it worked before!

This is exactly what happened to me!  I thought I’d found my holy grail, the answer to my prayers.  And at the time it was.

 

Unfortunately that time was 20 years ago!

 

The truth is that I kept clinging to the ‘slimming club solution’, even when it was no longer working.

I blamed myself for not being able to ‘stick to it’, for having no willpower.  

It felt scary to admit that what had worked for me once, wasn’t working it’s magic any more.

 

According to Linda Bacon in her book Health At Every Size, the reason that restriction diets aimed at weight loss stop working, is that each time we try to diet it becomes more difficult.  Our bodies and our brains become resistant.

Our bodies adapt to what they perceive as starvation, by lowering our metabolisms and at the same time upping our hunger cues.

 

It’s not us who are the problem, but the concept of dieting that creates the problem. 

There are many studies and statistics that prove this to be the case. (Read the book if you want to find out more- it’s really interesting, and gives a perspective that the diet industry is loathe to share with us!)

 

Just recently I had 2 conversations with 2 different clients, which really brought home to me how searching for ‘the one’ can keep us stuck where finding a happier relationship with both our bodies and with food is concerned.

The first client talked about continuing in her search of ‘trying to find something that would work for her’.  The second was in a panic desperate to lose weight quickly in time for a Christmas do.

 

In both cases I observed that in their search, they were looking for an external magic bullet………..and here’s the thing.  In my opinion, there isn’t one!

There is no diet, no eating plan, no weight loss company out there that has been proven to bring long term success!  It is well documented that the HUGE majority of people who manage to lose weight put it all back on again within 5 years (if not sooner!).
(If you don’t believe me, google ‘Statistics that show how diets fail’ and also reference your own personal experience and the experience of people you know.)

 

I believe our best hope is to make health our goal (not weight loss).

And then to look inwards. To ask ourselves what behaviour changes we are willing to make for the long term. And then to make the time to create new healthy habits- and to recognise that this isn’t all about food. (By the way, if you do want a different approach to eating ‘well’, then eating intuitively could be a solution)

It’s also about moving our bodies more, managing stress, drinking alcohol only in moderation and of course smoking and drugs are not part of a healthy lifestyle either.

 

Yeah sure, all diets work in the short term……….but if they worked long term how come there has been no improvement regarding the so called ‘obesity epidemic’?  How come so many of us are still desperately seeking ‘the one?’
Something to ponder, eh?
If you feel ready to get some support to help you finally leave diet culture behind, please ask to join my free Facebook group- Time to Heart<3 Your Body and Live Your Life <<<<click here and ask to join.

 

 

 

Ditching Diet Culture!

Ditching Diet Culture!

 

Ditching Diet Culture!

 

After 40 years of dieting and 15 years of working in the weight loss industry, I recently decided that the time has come for me to leave diet culture behind!

 

And I won’t lie!  It feels a bit scary!

Not just personally (what if I end up getting bigger, and bigger?), but for my business too.

 

When I stopped working for Weight Watchers a few years ago and trained as a Life Coach, I didn’t anticipate that I would get sucked back into working with clients on their weight management.  I absolutely LOVED life coaching  (and still do by the way!), yet so many of my contacts knew me as the weight loss expert.  And all the business advisers who were helping me, told me that having a niche was the thing to do.

 

 

BUT, while I was developing my business I was also reading around my subject.

 

About 2 years ago, I read a book called Body Respect by Linda Bacon which was a complete revelation to me.  It opened up a whole new perspective on the diet industry and on weight management in general.

I have also since, discovered whole Movements that I didn’t even know existed! The Health at Every Size Movement, The Body Positive Movement and the Body Image Movement to name a few.  What they all have in common is that they celebrate body diversity,  and fight weight stigma. They also give  an alternative voice, to the propoganda we have are all being been fed by diet culture.

Anyway the more I delved into the teachings of these movements, the more I felt that personally it was a good move for me to leave diet culture behind.  To learn to accept my body as it is.  To stop with the diets.  And although I still get days where I’m petrified of getting bigger than I am now, (I guess that’s to be expected after decades of buying into the message that in order to be worthy we need to be slim!), I feel like I am 85% there!

 

And OH the freedom!  Oh the relief!

 

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to see the light!

FINALLY, I can live my life in the present!

I am no longer waiting for the day when I am back at ‘goal’ in order to do all the things I want to do!  I don’t have to wait to be that elusive perfect weight in order to feel worthy, to feel comfortable in my own skin.

And I want this for my clients too!

The long and the short of it is that I have come to the decision that I no longer want to sell weight loss.

 

 

Here are the 2 main reasons I ended up being convinced that selling weight loss is selling a lie:

 

1. If there was an effective way of losing weight and keeping it off, we’d all be thin by now!

There are too many diets, weight loss companies, eating plans and diet books out there to count!

They all claim to be ‘the one’.  The thing is, even if just one of them was ‘the one’,  the so called ‘obesity epidemic’ would have been cured by now!

Yes, yes, yes, all diets work in the short term, we know that !  That’s how they seduce us in the first place.  But they obviously don’t work forever.

I kept coming back to this one fact- even with all these diets, still we are fat!

I just don’t  know why I had never seen this reality before!  Maybe I’d missed this obvious point, because we are made to believe that it’s us that’s the problem, not the weight loss plan!  I’m ashamed to say that I believed this in the past too, not just of myself but of also all of my slimming club members.

But surely if diets worked, the percentage success rate would be higher.

And so onto my next point.

2. At least 95% of people who lose weight end up regaining it within 5 Years.

When I first read this statistic, it made me sad and then mad!  Why are we not told this information?

This article explains some of why it is never mentioned.  If you don’t have time to read the whole article right now here’s a quote from it-

 

Health experts are also afraid people will abandon all efforts to exercise and eat a nutritious diet — behaviour that is important for health and longevity — even if it doesn’t result in much weight loss.

Let me be clear that I will still be very much encouraging my clients to participate in healthful behaviours, I just can’t promise them lonterm weight loss as a definite outcome.

From my perspective, I think one of the reasons I felt uncomfortable sharing this message before, is that I was afraid of bursting everyone’s bubble, taking their weight loss dreams away from them.  I realise now that this is better than encouraging to spend the rest of their days obsessing about the size of their bodies and having a weird relationship with food.

The bottom line is the statistics are corroborated by what I have personally witnessed and experienced as an individual, and from working in the weight loss industry.  The few who did achieve their goal weight, invariably struggled to maintain it.

 

 

I’m sure you can imagine that this has been a really difficult decision for me, especially since I have been both selling and buying into the ideal of weight loss for so many years.

But I feel a burning and irrepressible need to share the body positive message with the world.  Even if my business crashes and burns (after all weight loss is a best seller, isn’t it?) at least I’ll have my integrity intact.

If you’d like to take the first steps in leaving diet culture behind please come and hang out in my free and private FB group, by clicking >>here<< and requesting to join.

 

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