Something Isn’t Right
I have something to admit. For the past several months I’ve been leading a double life. No, I didn’t become an undercover agent. And I definitely haven’t been spotlighting at another boxing gym. What I’ve been doing has been deeper, more internal, and A LOT more difficult.
Ever had the sneaking suspicion that something is wrong? And that something is very near and dear to you, maybe something you believe in wholeheartedly. And suddenly, or more likely, gradually, you start to get that feeling in your gut that says, hey, maybe you should look at this a little closer, because SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT.
Well, that’s what happened to me. After years of working hard as a fitness professional, I started to get that feeling. Why was it that dieting had such a poor success rate? How come more and more people are feeling worse and worse about their bodies? And, to be completely honest, why am I feeling worse and worse about my own body, my own health and so-called wellness?
And what I discovered literally changed my life.
The Race For the Ideal Body
Let me start by saying, I am not writing this post with the intention of knocking down other fitness professionals or nutritionists. And I’m so lucky that Work Train Fight is a place that is super body-positive and supportive of people in all different shapes and lifestyles. All I hope to do is bring a little bit of perspective to anyone who might be struggling with accepting themselves.
First of all, we live in a world that is terrified of fat people (to clarify, when I use the word fat, it is for the purpose of empowerment, not degradation). We live in a world that is obsessed with being healthy, where being healthy is considered a moral-obligation. Like, if you are not in pursuit of health, you are therefore a bad person. This is a little bit classist (think of who can afford gym memberships and organic kale) and a lot a bit wrong.
And what it leads to is a huge amount of pressure on everyone (but historically more so on women) to look a certain way. This “ideal body” has changed over the decades, and right now we are in the Healthy AF phase, where the ideal body is super lean, strong (but not too strong) and cleansed.
So now, the race is on, and everyone and their mother is suddenly bending over backwards in order to achieve this so-called ideal body, even when it might literally be going against their genetic make-up.
And so they might try a little dieting. They might start exercising more regularly, more intentionally. And what happens is they probably get some results. And now everyone is saying how great they look and congratulating them on this huge success. So they keep going. And keep going. And keep going. But there’s one problem.
The Truth About Dieting
Sustained weight loss is nearly IMPOSSIBLE. 95% of dieters end up regaining the weight they lose within 2-3 years and, what’s more, most of them end up gaining MORE weight than they lost in the first place.
There is a whole bunch of science as to why this is the case, but pretty much, our bodies don’t like losing weight. In fact they hate it, and are going to do everything they can to reverse it (i.e. obsessive thoughts about food, ravenous hunger, inability to stop eating…I’m sure this is all sounding somewhat familiar).
But of course, as the “failed” dieter, you are not thinking to yourself, oh man, biology is really trying to keep me at a certain weight, or hey, why is it that I think I need to lose weight in the first place? No, these people are almost always thinking, “God, I am such a failure. I just can’t keep my act together on this dieting thing. But maybe next time, if I try a little bit harder, and stay a little more disciplined, than it will work.”
SPOILER ALERT: It won’t.
In fact, the more you go through this yo-yo dieting cycle, the more likely you are to gain weight, causing more detriment to your health than if you’d stayed at your natural body weight all along.
A Way Out
And so, after years of restricting, and obsessive exercise, and calorie-counting and meal-plans and protein-shakes and gross diet-alternatives, I decided I’d had enough.
Because after all that, I wasn’t happier. I wasn’t walking around with rainbows under my feet. I wasn’t richer, smarter, more popular, more well-liked. In fact, and here’s what the diet-industry doesn’t want to tell you, I was miserable. Because the truth is, when you shrink your body, what happens is, you end up shrinking your life.
Saying no to dinners with friends because you don’t want to mess up your macros for the day. Ordering a salad when what you really want is a sandwich. Saying no and No and NO! to that chocolate chip cookie, only to end up eating a whole bag-full alone in your apartment (and then hating yourself afterwards).
It’s a cycle that, unfortunately most people today are very familiar with. And the first step towards finding freedom from the diet brain is being aware of it. Because it is so insidious, so built into our society, that you might not have even noticed it was there. But trust me, once you do, you won’t be able to un-see it. And everything will start looking a whole lot different.
Stay tuned for my next post which will go into more detail on how to start reversing the effects of diet brain.