Sheri’s Rants #21 – The ‘Diet Head’ Game

Posted on August 3, 2009 by


Let me lay this out for you in simple terms:

EVEN, and arguably especially, ME.

We all WANT that special ‘pill’ to work – just like we want to win the lottery and never have to work another day in our lives.

P1020482You know what?  Once in a very great while a pill will ‘work’ for someone just like once in a very great while someone will win the lottery.  And that keeps the legend going, doesn’t it?  Keeps us hungering and believing.  Many of us keep ‘paying the poor man’s tax’ buying lottery tickets, and many of us keep ‘paying the fat tax’ by buying all the latest diet supplements, pills, potions, machines, DVD’s and books.   I think the odds are about the same.

‘Diet Head’ keeps you in that game.  ‘Diet Head’ keeps you frenetically searching the horizon for the Next Big Thing, even while engaged in the Last Big Thing.  In fact, we rarely fully engage in the The Thing We’re Doing because we’re already hoping for something faster out there.

You’ll tell me – of course!  I want it to happen faster!  No you don’t.  I know this for a fact.  I know this, because I watch many people get lean and fit and here is what generally happens with the Diet Head folks:

D.L. has been battling her weight with diet after diet for most of her 53 years.  She’s been diagnosed with many of the ‘over-weight’ diseases: thyroid, blood pressure, pre-diabetes and depression.  She’s medicated for every one of these.  She has starved herself into obesity.
D.L. found Genesis Transformation through a friend, and after struggling with accepting that she needs to eat, learning to plan meals, fit exercise into her lifestyle and drink water – her weight has dropped 42 lbs so far and she feels incredible.
HOWEVER, DL has been ‘stuck’ at her current weight of 200 for over 5 weeks.  (She calls it ‘stuck’, I don’t.)
Every time DL’s weight drops below 200, she celebrates.  She celebrates by eating a pint of ice cream or eating a pizza.  DL is intolerant to dairy and wheat.  So when her body drops below 200, it lasts less than 24 hours and she hikes the weight back up with a ‘splurge’ on her ‘favorite foods’.
Unfortunately, dairy and wheat create a high degree of inflammation in DL’s body.  So the weight comes up over a few days as the inflammation increases; she feels a little fatigued, nauseated, her joints ache, and she gets depressed.  The depression is blamed on the ‘lack of ability to get below 200 lbs’.
Are you seeing this yet?
The message that DL is sending her body is one of PUNISHMENT, not reward.  The way that she ‘celebrates’ causes her body PAIN, not pleasure.  Just as her body gets out of the pain, she does it to herself again!  What is her body learning?
Her body is learning that if it drops fat below a certain level, it will receive pain.  DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE BODY’S INTELLIGENCE!!

This is Diet Head at its finest.  It is so tricky, isn’t it?

Once DL learned to ‘celebrate’ with a manicure, her weight dropped below 200 within a week and she is now on her way to her goal.  Magic?  Nope.  Special pill?  Nope. Once she quit abusing her body in the name of ‘celebrating’, her body starting dropping fat again.

Now, what DL lamented – over and over – was that this process was not ‘fast enough’.  And yet – every single time she was successful dropping below the magic 200, she sabotaged with her ‘reward’ and could not see that this behavior was actually slowing her down!  Diet Head.  So I ask you – does it sound like she wanted her fat loss to go quickly, based on her behavior?  When your behavior is not matching what you are saying – suspect Diet Head.

One of the defining symptoms of ‘Diet Head’ is the denial involved.  When we are actively engaged in ‘Diet Head’ thinking, it’s tough to identify it.  We’ve talked about it in terms of obsession and unreasonable expectations with the scale (see Sheri’s Rants # 7), integrity issues (Sheri’s Rants # 15) and taking responsibility (Sheri’s Rants # 12).

Stop and think about the ways you’ve found to celebrate.  Are you punishing yourself or truly treating yourself?

Posted in: Sheri's Rants