As another Feasting Holiday (Memorial Day with all its BBQs) passes by and people again bemoan their over-indulgences at these first of the coming summer festivities for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I am feeling a need to re-iterate a point that rarely, if ever, gets seen in print. It is certainly something hidden from view even in the fine print (Results not typical) of any diet program trying to intice those feeling Feasting Guilt (TM) into joining in on the “Fun!” of a “Whole New Lifestyle Change!”. Beyond a mere “Diets Don’t Work”; this little nugget of information is something that may occaisionally get a waft-by mention in articles about WHY diets don’t work (the same articles that will insist on ending with quotes that still leave the reader with “Yea, maybe but FAT IS BAD!”) in those guides to Moving Past the Plateau and the like.
Yet I cannot stress strongly enough that when dieters stop dieting it is because the Diet has ALREADY failed THEM; NOT the other way around. Diets don’t work, yes. We know that and even the media is willing to put that out there once in a while. This is why diets go so far out of their way to call themselves “Lifestyle Changes”. Even steadfast dieters KNOW the truth that Diets Don’t Work. Yet few acknowledge that it is NOT the dieter that has caused this fail. It is not the dieter who decides to cave and eat twinkies for every meal because losing weight just loses its appeal. It is not the dieter who all of a sudden just stops all exercise and throws all of that “Hard Work” to the wind because they just don’t like the compliments that naturally follow any sort of lost weight. It is only after weeks, months or even years of a diet failing of a diet NO LONGER WORKING TO CAUSE WEIGHT LOSS that dieters may finally give up the ghost and stop a diet that has first and foremost STOPPED WORKING for them. And then…they blame themselves.
Why is that? When you can be doing EVERYTHING “right” and you reach what diet companies fondly call a “Plateau”; offering condescending tips to combating such occurrences in the same way they would offer you advice to bat away a naughty kitten’s feisty paws; when you are STILL doing everything “right” and your weight not only plateaus but GOES BACK UP; when reducing your caloric intake further and increasing exercise STILL don’t result in weight loss: the DIET has STOPPED WORKING. The DIET has failed. Not the dieter. No matter how Full of BS others tell you that you must be when you claim not to have broken any of the “Diet Rules”: The DIET is at fault for denying its promised Thin-Privilege riches; for holding back on most any dieter struggling to reach that Promised Land of Thin.
Any of those packaged or book-driven “Lifestyle Changes” will inevitably result in your body finally saying “NO! Screw you and the horse you rode in on, kind Sir/Madam! I will NOT continue in this manner. You will lose NO MORE WEIGHT. Period. You get me? Nothing. In fact, I’m going to start to replenish your body’s fat stores because, quite frankly, I think we’re in a famine or something the way you’ve been acting lately…”
Diets don’t stop working because the dieter “Falls off the Wagon” or “Cheats” or “Eats a Freaking’ Cough Drop”. Diets stop working. You can be, and likely ARE (or were), doing EVERYTHING you’re supposed to be doing. Counting those carbs or calories or “points”; taking only those “allowed indulgences”, getting in all your Activity Minutes; and STILL the weight loss stalls, or begins to reverse.
That’s when the self-doubt begins. When people telling you that you need to avoid carrots or white starchy foods or Cough Drops! start to make some sort of illogical sense. Never does it penetrate a dieter’s mind that maybe, maybe, it is NOT their fault. Dieters start hunting for “secrets” or “tips” or “tricks of restarting stalling weight loss” in some desperate search for exactly WHAT they are doing “wrong”!
Yet, dieters, having been one myself many a time, aren’t doing things “wrong” according to the methods or “sneaking too much of the Free Point foods” or somehow not working out “hard enough”. Quite simply they are finding yet again that diets DO NOT WORK. It is NOT the dieter who has failed. It is the Diet.
Repeat again with me: “It is NOT me! DIETS do not work. The DIET is the failure, NOT ME!” It isn’t an excuse. It isn’t Giving In or any other of the plethora of “YOU failed” phrases. It is a failure of what the world would have you believe is the Only Cure for Fatness ( namely Eat Less, Exercise More) to actually make you Thin. It isn’t a lack of motivation. Fear makes a great motivator…and yet still diets continue to fail us on the whole. But we insist that it is all in our heads…and keep trying anyways.
Is it because people are afraid of what it might mean if there truly IS no hope of making the entirety of the world into a homogeneous tiny range of possible sizes? What perpetuates this ability of the average (or even un-typical) person to believe that Fat is unnatural? And to hate it and those who have it in such a violently determined manner?
It never ceases to amaze me how easily we can be led to believe the two simultaneously contradictory truths: That there can be Naturally Thin people but Naturally Fat is abhorrent and really a result of poor eating/work out habits.
Come on folks. Look at that above statement and then reflect again on what I chanted before about diets. Diets DO NOT work to make you permanently thin. You will never eat little enough and work out hard enough to go from a Naturally Fat person to a Naturally Thin person. It just doesn’t work that way!
You can certainly go on believing that diets only fail those that cheat or lie about the same. If you don’t already have a niggling little doubt about the efficacy of something which, if worked as well as purported would have resulted in a miraculously All Thin (at least for middle to upper class folks to whom the majority of these schemes seem to be largely marketed) Population long before now, it is likely that my words here have done little more than to make you roll your eyes at what must be just the spiteful words of yet another Dieting Liar. But if you do doubt, if you do have even one iota of a hesitation before you too join the head-nodding clamor rising up anytime someone spouts off “Calories In/Calories Out”; take a moment to reflect upon what I’ve rambled about here. Form your own conclusions after a bit of your own digging. And see if you aren’t just as angrily disappointed in a lifetime of being lied to as I am.