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Your New Year’s Resolution? Stop Dieting

All right. The parties are over and the dishes are put away. The leftovers are almost gone and the alcohol’s effects are starting to wear off. It is January 2 and you are just getting up (unless it was YOUR turn to walk the dog…sorry). What do you suppose is the first thought waking up along with you? Why, it’s your New Year’s Resolution, no doubt. And let me guess: it sounds a little like this “today is the beginning of my (fill in the blank) diet, and I just know that THIS time I will lose weight for good!

Before you get started, may I make a rather unusual request? Why not make your new diet a “non” diet? That’s right; why not give up dieting for the New Year? You already know all about dieting because you have a long history of being on and off diets. You have never been able to keep the weight off which makes you feel lousy about yourself, right? So why not try something new this year? Why not make this year’s resolution about learning to become at peace with food?

Perhaps I should explain a bit.

Let’s face it — diets do NOT work. Or, looking at it slightly differently, all diets work: while you are on them. The dilemma is that once you go ON a diet, ultimately you go OFF the diet, and the weight just comes right back, correct? So, think about what would happen if you stopped dieting? Relax, take a moment to think about this.

Is it scary? Probably. You are so used to following a diet, being told (by a piece of paper, a television personality or the latest diet book) what to eat, and when to eat it. Now, you have to throw all that away. What’s going to happen?

At first, you may gain a little weight. Why? Because you are so used to not allowing yourself to eat the foods you love and when you take away that restriction, it’s all you want to do. But guess what? When you understand you can eat dark chocolate (OK, my favorite, not necessarily yours) anytime you want, you find yourself reaching for it only when you are truly hungry for dark chocolate. You won’t be grabbing it because you are angry, or depressed, but because you are really hungry for — dark chocolate. But more significantly, you discover you are satisfied with less chocolate.

One of the many problems with dieting is that you have been depriving yourself for so long that you are afraid to trust your own judgment about what is right for you. You have developed such a difficult relationship with food that you no longer know what it feels like to be hungry.

Becoming “at peace with food” is a journey that involves developing a new relationship with food. Instead of being marked by frustration and disappointment, by fear and competition between you and the food you eat, you are able to let food takes its place as one of the many activities in your life, along with family, friends, working and being active. And, like these other activities, eating becomes pleasurable.

Becoming at peace with food is learning to trust yourself again — to make the right choices for yourself. It results in no longer fearing food, but loving food and all the activities related to cooking, eating, and living.

Let’s start this New Year by accepting ourselves, becoming at peace with ourselves, and at peace with food.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year.

Become At Peace with Food: Stop Dieting and Lose Weight

NOTE: Information in this site should not replace any medical advice you have
received from your primary care doctor or other medical professionals.