The Emotional Toll Of Dieting

We talk a lot about the failure rate of dieting (by far the most likely outcome) and the physical harm of weight cycling aka yo-yo dieting (by far the most likely outcome of doing more than one diet.) And of course for some For some, of course, dieting moves from disordered eating into an eating disorder and can become life-threatening But it’s not just health impacts. Weight cycling can also take a serious emotional toll and that’s what I talked about in my latest for The Mighty.

Click here to read the full piece here!

When Good Friends Do Bad Diets

As the New Year comes around, the diet industry is doing everything it can to convince all of us to make another (ultimately doomed) weight loss attempt. Even when we aren’t fooled, often our nearest and dearest are still riding the diet roller coaster. And typically that means that they want to talk about it – anywhere and everywhere – in ways that can be anything from annoying to harmful. In this workshop we’ll talk about options for dealing with this in all the scenarios that we may find ourselves in.

Details and Registration:
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members

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7 thoughts on “The Emotional Toll Of Dieting

  1. Especially timely during the holidays where indulge, enjoy, and celebrate will be followed by purge, thrash, lose to win New Years’ “celebrations”. Ah, the New Year! The New You! Less of you is more and we have the recent Celebrity Female Wasting Syndrome examples to prove it. Guess/Look?See/Emulate who is Healthy-Thin Now! How do they know they’re “Healthier Now”? Duh, they have less adipose tissue, Plus, They Said They were losing weight and Getting Healthy”. Will these articles be followed by relentless abuse if these female celebs re-cycle their “old-bad-fat bodies”? You bet your ass they will. There is little money to be made by “female naturalness” as M. Mitchell stated in GWTW. Never before or since has so little value been accorded female naturalness. She didn’t live to see the 60s, 70s, 80s,90s, etc. I think, had she, she would have recognized all too well the insane constraints put by society, peers, institutions, and individuals to toe the line or face social oblivion. She was primarily referring to sexual behavior, Scarlett’s appetites were regarded as excessive, out of control, un-womanly. The more things change…The more entrenched, invisibly common, and irritating they become. What do you bet we see actual “criminalization of being fat” at some point? We’ve got penalization, social disenfranchisement, workplace meddling opt-in managing of our bodies, the embracing of external 24/7 electronic monitoring, and an angry “fed up” populace. What’re next, Draconian measures for miss behaving bodies? “If you can’t or won’t take yourself in hand, WE will!”
    Maybe we should be grateful it’s ‘just female celebrities whose body fat is of such lurid, biased, public interest?

  2. Hi Ragen,

    I know your focus is primarily on getting rid of the idea of diets to cause weight loss. I’m currently stuck in the pressure of eating in a certain way to control blood sugar. After much googling (especially science papers where I could find them), I’ve determined a lot of general food advice is bullshit. Even when an article admits that every body is different and foods will affect them differently, they still close out with “but eat more whole foods and less frozen pizza”. Even my nutritionist thinks I can solve my digestive issues with probiotics or lots of beano and eventually be able to eat more veggies. I don’t actually believe that.

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you again for encouraging people to eat whatever works for them, regardless of what ‘experts’ say. When I listen to my body, I eat less veggies, but also have less diarrhea. Yes, it makes managing blood sugar a little trickier, but I’d rather switch to insulin than feel ill on a daily basis.

    Time to read Health at Every Size again.

  3. I really wanted to like this site. I do like the honest scientific information you share. Yet your site is full of popups. Maybe you don’t know that. I don’t get popups from any other site. First, it’s the invitation to join via facebook, etc. Then it’s a popup about an arthritis diet. I clicked on the “x” in the corner to close the popup, and it took me to that diet site. I returned to your site and got the invitation to join popup then another commercial popup. Should I click the “x” again? I know you make your living with your blog. But surely furniture ads would be better than diet ads. I’m so sad about this. I really wanted to find a site that would feel welcoming.

    In addition, I feel absolutely hopeless after reading this article. I am in my 60s and weigh over 500 pounds. I am barely yet still ambulatory thanks to my wheely walker. Yet my health is declining very quickly. I will be dead in a couple of years if I can’t improve my health. Plus, my life is extremely limited due to my physical restrictions. I don’t diet. I don’t drink or smoke. I don’t eat meat or pasta because I am not fond of them. I don’t eat cheese because my gall bladder doesn’t respond well when I do. I eat dairy-free green smoothies because they help my level of alertness. The rest of my diet is pretty much like everyone else in the USA. Despite being under a doctor’s care, I don’t know what to do to improve my health.

  4. Hi Ellen,

    I am not Ragen, I am not a doctor, just a four hundred pound fifty-something who posts here. All I can say is care about yourself and talk to someone you TRUST honestly about what You would like to see as related to your health and fitness. A good nutritionist and fitness instructor, who values health and quality of life over extreme weight loss, might help with improving your strength and endurance levels.
    I would be surprised if you were not told outright to try a major weight loss surgery regardless of complications by many, so be careful unless that is something you want to do.
    Put yourself and YOUR QUALITY of life first. If you want to be in better shape, a variety of simple exercises done in slowly increasing reps might be a good start.
    Remember, you did not come with an expiration date. There is no guarantee that you will expire in 2022, nor that you will be alive at the end of the week. ANYTHING can happen. You can only start from where you are, set a few reachable goals, and do your best.
    Till the moment you stop breathing, you are alive! Have compassion for yourself and hope things can get better.
    The pop-ups are uber annoying, I have no idea what to do. I have gotten good at reading around the stupid thing! Here’s one, Find things you like, flowers, birds, Porsches. Start pricing things like that and you’ll get LOTS of pictures of things you Do Like, even though you’re not Reely in the market for them… I looked up NUTS. com, really good looking stuff, WAY out of my price range, but the pics are interesting…;)

  5. I don’t know what made me think of this today, but part of the emotional toll of dieting is how dieting can wreck your relationships, not just with food and yourself, but with other people. Dieting has this way of prioritizing your life to the point you even put it before the people you love, and it can even make you view other people’s bodies and food choices as a personal attack or deliberate, intentional sabotage. You get to the point where nobody is “supportive” enough of your diet, no matter what they do or don’t do, say or don’t say, eat or don’t eat “in front of you” – everyone is out to get you. And you respond to them like they’re attacking you. Even if they’re your oldest friends or closest family.

    …still guilty about yelling at my grandmother over the phone, all these years later. Weight loss brain is just so HEALTHY and POSITIVE.

    1. That makes a lot of sense, if you eat with people, and most people do, and you have a disordered relationship with food: priorities, rules, intensity, paranoia…it is a given the relationship is going to be damaged.

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