By Frances Abrams
Always visit a doctor before starting any diet.
Monday mornings used to be difficult because I knew I had to start another diet. My weekends were spent looking through the newest diet books to figure out which diet appealed to me. I was obsessed with food and weight and never considered that something else was going on inside of me. All I knew is that I needed to be “fixed” and a new diet was the solution. If I looked good, if I looked skinny, then my life would also be good. I needed to fit into that short little black dress even if only for a day–eventually it would get put away again in the back of the closet.
I knew that letting go of dieting was not something that happened quickly. After all, I’ve been dieting since I was five. I remember the first diet I was as “placed” on. My mother, as directed by the family doctor, was told that I needed to lose weight. That was it! No instructions. No lists of healthy diet foods. No programs or meetings to attend. Just use your best judgment. I don’t remember if it worked, but I do remember not being allowed to eat potato chips. Potato chips became an obsession for me for years. Diets became a part of my life. There wasn’t a time when I don’t remember trying to lose another pound or having to lose that last 10 lbs of postpartum weight. How do we learn to listen to what our bodies need from us and how do we stop eating the foods that are not healthy or good for us?
It is not easy to bid farewell to our quick weight loss diet plans. We are bombarded with weight loss advertisements everywhere. We live in a society where our culture is both food obsessed and diet conscious. I’ve tried Calorie Restricting, been to Weight Watchers, and jumped wholeheartedly into the Cabbage Soup experience. I became good friends with Atkins and South Beach. And, although I jumped off of the diet merry- go-round, diet books are everywhere. (I wonder why diet books are always next to the cookbooks in bookstores.) I guess we live in a conflicted culture where eating good, hearty, and sometimes not so good food is juxtaposed with a diet mentality. What an oxymoron our society and culture has created for us.
I have spent a fortune on diet books. I used to think that a new diet would do the trick! But I eventually realized that there is no trick to dieting. Dieting can be a painful and difficult process. No diet was going to make me feel good about myself and all diets would make me feel deprived. In fact, every time I went on another diet, I became obsessed with food. I thought about the foods I could eat and the foods I couldn’t eat. I thought about my next meal hours before I was hungry. Food was always on my mind.