My daughter’s friend is ON A DIET!

 

My daughter came home from school yesterday and said that one of her friends is on a diet.

She says that lots of her friends are dieting. This makes me so sad and quite angry, actually. I hate to think that her friends are falling into the dieting trap at such an early age. It's such a shame and so unnecessary and more than that, it leads to a life of pain (at least it did for me).

Sometimes, I worry if I sound too bolshy about this kind of thing, but actually, I think I’m qualified to say that dieting does lead to a life of pain. I know quite a lot about this, seeing as I dieted for MANY years and was unhappy with my shape for MORE years and I talk to a LOT of ladies who feel just like I used to feel, before I found Mindful Eating.

  • Dieting does not work.
  • It does not make you happy.
  • It makes you miserable.

If you think the a diet will fix how you see yourself, you are WRONG (sorry, but it’s true).

PLEASE, take all this into account when you are thinking about embarking on your (next) diet.

Consider whether dieting has helped/worked before.

Did it work last time? Did you ‘keep it off’? Or did you ‘fail?’ Just to explain, the ‘fail thing’ is what people say to ME. I know they didn't fail, it was the diet that failed them. The diet industry KNOWS THIS.

Yes, you may have felt ‘happier’ because you felt you achieved something, but what happened after that, when you reverted to your usual eating pattern because you hadn’t addressed the WHY you do what you do (food wise).

So, why is my daughter’s friend on a diet at the age of 13?

Because one of the boys said she was ‘fat’.

Now that makes me REALLY cross.

Turns out the boy quite likes her and this is why he said it. Not that this makes it ok, it doesn't. However, the friend is STILL dieting, eating cottage cheese and ‘healthy snacks’ in an effort to lose weight and BTW she is a very ‘normal’ shape. Aaaaaargh!

I spoke with my daughter about this (for the hundred millionth time) and reiterated that this behaviour can lead you down a difficult path. That restrictive eating can lead to eating disorders, that actually, dieting makes you more fat (eventually) and it messes up your metabolism. She said that being thinner makes you more popular and its ok for me because I have a husband. Hmmmm. I of course do not fully understand the current reality for teenage girls, because it wasn't like this when I was growing up. Doesn't stop me wishing I could do something about it though.

Let me share with you an extract from an amazing book ‘Health at EVERY Size’, by Linda Bacon PhD. This woman is featured in ‘Embrace’ the Body Image film that I have hosted in Bristol a few times.

...Most of us-particularly women- feel shame about our bodies. We don’t create this shame out of thin air.
Our culture constantly sends us messages that who we are and how we look is definitely not okay....our culture accepts dieting and body hatred as normal. We unconsciously absorb these disturbed messages.

So instead of uncovering and confronting our disturbed attitudes about our bodies or food, we focus on trying to change our weight. Our unsuccessful efforts at losing weight or maintaining weight loss just reinforce our feelings of personal failure and disgust.
— Embrace

So this is where it comes from and this is what we are up against. But, having taken the time to sort this stuff for myself, I KNOW how it is possible to change and you do this by looking INSIDE, not by trying to lose weight by dieting.

Let me tell you how I feel now about myself and my body.

I am happier, I feel free(er), I eat less because I am not thinking I ‘should be dieting’ all the time. My body is the only one I’ve got and It’s not going to look like it did when I was younger. I no longer need it to be ‘perfect’ or ‘thin’ in order to feel worthy as a person.

I have a life that no longer revolves around food, or guilt, or feeling ashamed. I have FUN. I lark around and embarrass myself (sometimes). I have done things I would NEVER have dreamed of. I have left a job I HATED and have a job I LOVE. I am LIVING MY LIFE and my weight is not an issue.

Which brings me to “how on earth can I help people like my daughter’s friend?” And I have to be honest and say I’m not even sure yet.

-I want to get ‘Embrace’ into secondary schools.

-I feel like there needs to be a cultural change, in schools, in society, everywhere.

-This is just not ok. It’s awful and unnecessary. Who is with me? 👊xx