There are few things that embarrass me more than when people talk about dieting on social media. The announcement, “Lost 3 lbs this week!” causes involuntary cringing. If you are a woman, or have ever been near a woman, you’re probably aware that women talk a lot about weight and dieting. It’s typically the favored topic in groups of women. We like to bond over the shared misery of hating our bodies and how we can change them to be more acceptable. This commiseration is taking place as we speak in hair salons nationwide.
I’ve personally come to believe that diets do not work. I debate my level of hypocrisy on this often, but I’ll just say I experienced a psychic shift when it comes to food that left me thinking more about leaky gut than an expanding gut. I understand the focus on weight and why we want to (and sometimes should) lose weight. But I have learned from experience that dieting is just not the way to get there. The weighing, measuring, logging, deprivation, rebellion, guilt. It’s a punishing cycle that dooms us to failure.
I’m a part of an online group geared towards sobriety, and the announcement of a diet reminds me a bit of when someone who is probably an alcoholic says that they are going to attempt to moderate. I’m not yet evolved enough to prevent the eye rolling and dramatic sigh. I freely admit that tolerance and compassion is a real challenge for me when it comes to this stuff. I have black-and-white thinking and basically want to go around shaking people and screaming in their faces, “Don’t you get it?!?” I thought twice about even writing this because I don’t want to hurt feelings, but I am where I am.
But so it goes with the chronic moderaters and dieters. Because it seems to be the same people repeating the same patterns and talking about it on Facebook. I have one friend in particular who is always exclaiming, “This is it!” She posts her weigh-ins for a few weeks and then just disappears. Why even post it? Doesn’t she see it embarrasses meeeeeeee? For God’s sake how much of your failure can I possibly endure?”
What would I have? Those that are struggling to go hide in a cave? I’m not a very nice person. I sometimes become aware that behind every bad behavior is fear. I get afraid when I perceive a threat to my beliefs, choices, lifestyle. A public declaration of a diet or a casual drink enrages me because I hear that, “What if…” The lure of an easier, softer way, beautifully packaged in a Facebook status with congratulatory “likes” and adoring commenters. What if I’m wrong? What if all this effort was for nothing. Look, LOOK! They are doing it and saying it’s great. The defense against the fear is haughty superiority.
I’ve gotten my messages loud and clear. My Higher Power has demonstrated for me that I cannot drink or diet without being miserable over and over again in my life. It is my responsibility to listen to those messages and respond appropriately. The most appropriate response being to ask for help. Now, what will it take for me to love and support others along their path, no matter where it may take them?