Why You Don’t Need to Diet to Lose Weight
By Michelle Morand
This past week I was blessed with e-mails from two clients that I haven’t seen for a while. I have their permission to share them with you and wanted to do so here.
The CEDRIC Centre doesn’t believe in the diet mentality form of promoting our services, you know…”lose 30 pounds in 30 days” or “you’ll lose weight..” etc. That form of advertising only serves to reinforce that the issue is your weight and it’s not.
So, we quietly encourage you to honor yourself, to look beneath food and weight to the underlying issues that lead you to use food and body focus to cope. And what we find is that when people use our approach to healing their relationship with food, that’s exactly what they do: heal it! It’s done, over, gone, not a problem, finito etc.
That’s why I have such an issue with people who purport that disordered eating patterns are like a disease that once you have “caught” you have for life. It’s simply not true. Our staff, myself included, as well as hundreds of clients are living proof of the fact that complete and lasting freedom is to be expected as a result of our healing process, that is why you don’t need to diet and punish yourself.
It makes sense that if you use food to cope because of past and present stressors and hurts, and you find ways to heal those wounds and learn new ways to cope with stress that are not harmful, you just won’t need to use food to cope anymore. And that is what we see in our clients, time and time again.
What we find when we approach healing from a place of inner focus and building a strong relationship with ourselves first and foremost, is that the more highly we come to regard and respect ourselves the more freely and easily we make changes to our relationship with food and to exercise that are in accordance with self-love and not punishment.
So, what before was a great struggle ie. not eating more than we were truly hungry for; or allowing ourselves to eat when we are hungry, without shame or judgement; or engaging in consistent exercise; becomes effortless and easy because we are choosing to do these things out of love for ourselves and not because we feel flawed or sub-standard in some way.
If you use food to cope, any diet program is only going to exacerbate that issue. It’s only going to put more focus on the food and on your body. There is no way to heal from that vantage point.
If you are willing to trust that it is possible that you can heal completely and never have negative thoughts about your body, never have stressful encounters with food, never again punish yourself with restriction or overeating, then you are ready to begin to challenge yourself to begin the journey within.
The journey begins with a willingness to believe that any focus on food and body is simply your inner self calling your attention to something else in your life that isn’t working in the way you need it to. Then you take steps to identify what those pieces might be and learn new tools to heal them and attend to them differently should they arise again.
That’s the process of complete recovery in a nutshell.
Now, I’ll let you have a read at those e-mails I received this week and get a sense of how these women have transferred their old harmful overeating/purging/restriction patterns into honoring choices that are building greater self-esteem and healthy, intimate relationships.
I am doing very well. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of something wise you’ve said to me or some realization you helped me with. I am feeling great, my relationship with food is infinitely better, and I have re-established links with a lot of my female friends. I’ve taken up running. It’s so different from anything I’ve done before and I run with the most incredible group of women. I’m finding it very empowering and it’s a great stress reliever.
Although I miss our sessions, it’s great to know that I have the skills & abilities to handle (and enjoy!) life on my own!
Since we last met, I’ve lost 20 pounds (I’ve gone the health-food-do-only-what’s-good-for-me route — which includes treating myself occasionally too — along with Jazzercise) and then gained 10 at Christmas (long story — but I’ve since shed the 10 and seem to be losing more). But GOOD FOR ME, huh? Yeah, I know, I’m amazing (how’s THAT for an attitude shift?!).
You know, despite it being a place where a lot of crap was released, I have good memories of your bright, sunny office. Thanks for making it such a special place to be!
I should mention, just for the record, that I did do some “no you can’t have any sugar” for a good month, even though I craved it madly. I found I just needed to break the cycle and let the hormones balance out.
Although it was tough some days, I explained to myself that the goal was to make me feel better than I ever have, so I could live strong and healthy. I kept in mind that chocolate was certain to be in my future, but when it became a “want” and was no longer a “need”.