The letter of the day is E. Instead of doing the “right” v. “wrong” approach to the letters this week, we are diving right in.
What does E stand for? You know what my E is? E is ENOUGH. It’s time we stopped dieting. Why? Because I believe that the diet mentality is what is causing America’s obesity crisis as well as our increasing and scarily normative levels of body dissatisfaction.
Here’s the deal. 80% of 10-year-old girls have already been on a weight loss diet. 80%! You know what that means, right? At some point, before age 10, these girls decided they were too fat – in other words, sometime between ages 6 and 8, these little girls decided there was something wrong with them. Something that needed fixing. And over time, they decided dieting would fix this problem.
But where do they get these ideas? Someone or something had to have planted the seed that they were not ENOUGH just as they were. That led to body dissatisfaction, which led to dieting. But, to me, it represents a crisis. When 80% of 10-year-old girls have already been on a weight loss diet, something is wrong with our society.
We, as parents, as adults, as role models for our children, need to say ENOUGH. This is ridiculous. No 10-year-old, or 6-year-old, or 18-year-old, or 50-year-old needs to be having such negative thoughts about themselves that they decide dieting is the answer.
As we’ve already discussed, the D in D.I.E.T. stands for deprivation, denial, danger. And it sets us up for bingeing, emotional eating, feeling less than; it sets us up for failure. All because at some point in our lives, we got the idea that we weren’t good enough the way we were; that we needed to change. And that dieting was the answer.
Let me assure you. It’s not. There are numerous books out there that give us “prescriptions” for weight loss – eat less, exercise more; eat more of this, less of that; eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day; eat 3 meals and no snacks; don’t eat after 7:00pm; get happy and you’ll eat less. If that advice was working, we’d all be skinny, and I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But it’s not working. Why? Because those prescriptions for weight loss are not addressing the core issue. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound, or giving someone a pill to cure them when you don’t know what’s wrong with them in the first place. Telling people what and when to eat may work temporarily, but if you don’t help them figure out how they got to that point, when they inevitability fall off the diet, they will end up worse off than they were before they started. This is why over 80% of people who have dieted gain the weight back within three to five years, and usually a lot more.
Why are we doing this to ourselves? And more importantly, why are we doing this to our children? Because it’s all we know how to do. Because no one has ever explained to us why we reach for that chocolate donut every time we feel sad or why we feel like we have to clean our plates. No one has ever explained to us not only that diets don’t work, but why they don’t work.
This is my mission in life – to turn the harmful body dissatisfaction-dieting-guilt cycle on its head. To break it apart and spit it out. Reformed. So that we’re not, as a culture, constantly going from one diet to another, so dissatisfied with what we look like that we are willing to ENGAGE in EXTREME dieting, exercise, or other forms of body mutilation in an effort to “improve” or “perfect” ourselves.
This has to stop. I’m not saying I don’t want you to be healthy. I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for EMPOWERMENT. What I am saying is that D.I.E.T.ing is not the answer. We need to learn to eat healthy food, move every day, and love ourselves for who we are instead of trying to live up to someone else’s expectations of what we “should” look like or be like. You are beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Because healing the diet mentality, healing our culture of dieting and body dissatisfaction starts with YOU.
What is your E? Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what your E is and what you’re going to DO to change it.