A Letter To The Yo-Yo Dieter

Yo-Yo Dieter, 

I see you over there cutting out carbs this month. Feasting on nuts instead of crackers, bacon and eggs instead of oatmeal, pork rinds instead of chips, putting coconut oil in your coffee, giving up every last drip of alcohol. And then I see the night where you give in after 4 long weeks. I see your face light up as you order pizza and devour the entire thing. I see how that one night derails your entire "no carbs" plan and the next day you're back to your chips, alcohol, pasta, pizza and sweet treats. 

I see you giving up sugar for 30 days. I see it in your face how badly you want the cake but are fighting every last ounce of discipline you have not to give in. I watch you for days sometimes even months hold out on sugar. Then, I see the day where you've pushed your limits, you've avoided it for too long and now you binge. But you don't just binge today, you binge for the next month and the month after that, and you're right back where you started. 

I see you through August, September and October following a decent diet, losing weight and looking healthy. Then, I watch, as everything falls apart as the holidays approach and temptation rears its ugly face. For two months you eat more than usual, you don't listen to your hormones that are telling you when you're hungry or full. Desserts become a staple. You help yourself to seconds when you already packed your first plate too full. And since you've already "ruined" it with Thanksgiving, you continue on this destructive path through Christmas. Come January, enough is enough, you're back at the gym, giving up carbs, fats, anything with taste, sweets and alcohol. You continue on this path until a few weeks go by and the devil on your shoulder leads you back to your dark place. 

I see your weight fluctuate month to month, year to year. I also see it getting harder to manage these fluctuations. I see each year you gain just a little bit more. I see 5 years has passed, 30lbs have been gained and bad habits have been established. I see you uncomfortable in your own skin but struggling with how to fix it. 

I see all of these things and I want to help. I want so badly to tell you what to do, how to fix it and how thankful you'll be if you do. I also know how hard it is and how difficult it can be to establish new habits. I know that it takes patience, a kind of patience that most people don't have. 

Most of all, I want you to know that life isn't about depriving yourself. I want you to understand that giving something up for 30 days won't reward you with long term results. I want so badly for you to believe that you can lose weight, be healthy and reach your goals while enjoying a few glasses of wine with friends.

I want you to break-up with your diet and marry new habits. And I want you to be faithful to those habits. But realize, you don't marry someone after 30 days of dating. You ease into things, get to know each other, figure out what works and what doesn't, you learn communication and compromise and you keep working at it until you just work together. Eventually, being with them is second nature and you couldn't imagine your life any other way. Eventually you commit. You marry that person and you never look back (hopefully). 

Learn to create a new, healthy existence that you can maintain throughout life. Focus less on giving things up and more on implementing healthy habits. Understand that good eating HABITS don't happen over night and there will be many times where you feel like you've failed. You haven't failed. So as long as you continue to work toward/on these habits, you will never fail.

I don't want you to give up this and never eat that. I want you to find balance amongst it all. I want you to find a medium of enjoying good food, wine with friends, loving your body and cherishing your health.  

Most of all, I want you to never go on a "diet" again.