A Day in the Life of a Dieter:
Wakes up and thinks: “Right, here we go! I’ve got this in the bag today. Today is going to be so much better than yesterday!”
Goes to the mirror: “Oh god, urgh, ok, don’t look. Just let’s go to the gym straight away!”
Goes to gym: “Damn, she is so thin and beautiful. Why can’t I look like her? Ok, come on, don’t focus on her. But it’s not fair, why am I trying so hard? Is there any point! I’m never going to look like that! No! Don’t speak like that. Get on the treadmill and just run. Ok. I’m running. This is hard. Keep going fatty! You can’t keep gaining weight like this, look at your belly wobbling as you go. Just run that belly off. Run it off! Keep going, don’t quit. But – I just can’t keep going it’s too hard. Stop it, just run off that belly! It’s your fault you ate so much on the weekend!”
Breakfast: “Why is the cereal out? Urgh, I really want that now. No, I have to be good. But could I have a bit of the cereal? Let me read how many calories are in here. Per 40g there’s 120, okay, that’s not too bad, I think I can fit this in. I’ll have a green smoothie to be good as well to balance it out!”
Getting dressed: “What fits? What fits? No, these trousers make my belly look even bigger. Nope, I look like the hunchback of Notre Dam in these. Where is my skinny outfit? I know I’ll get looked at if I’m not looking really good today in the office. Okay, my black top and these trousers are quite slimming. That will have to do I guess. You can’t polish a turd, so that’s what I’ll have to go with!”
At work: “Hi Cheryl, you alright? What? Oh yes, I didn’t go to slimming club last night. How are you doing? You’ve lost a stone – waw, fair play.” “Typical Cheryl, always bragging about how much weight she’s lost. Well, I’ll show her, I’m sticking to this diet this week and I’ll be at the club next weekend and I’ll have lost 5 pounds I bet! Oh I can’t wait to get there and feel that slim!”
Lunchtime: “Urgh, I hope no one comments on my lunch. But it does fit into the plan, so no one can make that much of a remark. I see Bethany and Cheryl have gone for plan A today, same as me. Let’s look, yup, white bread with a bit of ham, only a few calories. Oh damn, maybe I should have gone for low fat turkey instead. Has Gemma got grapes? Doesn’t she know they are really calorific. I’ve gone for cucumber.” “Lunch was okay, but I’m starving now. Ok, no snacking, just keep going until hometime and I’ll have my calorie counted soup, or maybe a shake to make up for breakfast perhaps.”
End of the day: “I’ve just got in, that was a long day. I am starving now. Right, I’m just going to have my shake I think and be done with it, and just have a bath and go to bed.” “That shake isn’t too bad, but I can’t stop thinking about food. He’s gone and made himself a Thai curry. That smells amazing, but there’s so many fat grams in the coconut milk. No way.” “Ok, I just can’t stop thinking about that curry. I’ll just have a bit. Damn, that tastes good. Just a bit more.” “Oh god, I’ve eaten so much. I’m pathetic, I knew it. I knew I’d blow it today, started off with that cereal. What’s the point? I’m just destined to be fat forever. Where’s the biscuits? And the ice-cream? Bring it on, I don’t care anymore. I’m just a loser, and I want to eat all this. I just don’t care anymore!”
“Well, I ruined yesterday – but not today. I can get back on track. I know I can do it! Gotta keep trying.”
- Looks at calories, and not how the food will help them or how it will make them feel.
- Concentrates on looks over health. Over external praise versus feeling good from the inside out.
- Engages in all or nothing thinking. It’s the right way, or it’s a failure – no middle ground.
- Engages in catastrophisng. If one thing isn’t right. It’s all wrong.
- Wants praise and acceptance from others, but doesn’t practice any form of self acceptance for themselves.
- Dresses to fit in, and to look one way. Doesn’t wear clothes that bring them joy, or they genuinely feel good in.
- Goes to the gym or excersises for weight loss only. Not focused on wellbeing, mental health or gaining strength in all forms.
- Compares self to others constantly. Always trying to stack up against others. Judges them harshly, and in turn, thinks she is being judged. It’s a negative cycle.
- Engages in dialogues about food, calories and weight gain. Engages in dieting culture. Looks at skinny people as inspiration, but feels worse.
The Balanced Eater after learning the Eat Happy Method:
Morning: “Ok, got a relatively busy day today. Not too bad. Got enough time for my usual routine. Don’t really feel like meditating, but I’ll feel better afterwards.” “I didn’t feel totally mindful there, but I’m always happy I showed up to meditate anyway!”
Goes to the mirror: “What did I write here? Oh yeah, my affirmations. I forgot I stuck these up yesterday. Let’s see: I accept myself as I am today, I let go of everything that no longer serves me and I am looking after myself every day. Ah, that’s nice. I don’t always like to look at myself, my belly is still quite round, but I don’t want to be mean to myself.”
Exercises: “I have a really sore back today, so I was going to do some weights, but I really need to do some yoga I think. I could do a bit of a stronger sequence if I feel up for it as I like to have a bit of a sweat on even with yoga. It clears my head, and I don’t like to feel too sluggish. I think I’ve gained some weight, and I need to keep remembering to move my body or I’ll find it harder to motivate myself to move!”
Breakfast: “What have I got? Eggs? Spinach? Toast? Yogurt. Waw, that looks like brunch sort of meal. I love brunch, can I have brunch at 8.30 am? Yes, yes I can. Gonna make some scrambled eggs on this toast, a bit of spinach on the side. And a yogurt with fruit, what have I got? Yes, the peaches are ripe, perfect. What a breakfast, looks like it should be on a menu!”
Gets dressed: “I can’t wear these trousers, my belly has gotten a bit bigger these days. So that’s really going to dig in, no thank you. Oh a skirt, lovely and flowy. I love this pattern. Should fit nicely, stretch waist – get in. Ah, that looks nice and summery, will keep me cool today in the office as well!”
Goes to work: “Hey Bethany. I went to see my friends in the city on the weekend. Yes, it was lovely. Ok, see you later. Hmm. Bethany seems a bit down in the dumps, hope she’s okay. I don’t really know her that well, but it’s nice she can talk to me. I’ll strike up a conversation later.”
Lunchtime: “Oh my gosh, I totally forgot to pack my lunch yesterday! Oh man, that’s annoying. I love having a premade lunch. Ok, let’s go to the canteen. White bread sandwiches? I’m really trying to eat more whole foods, those sandwiches taste rubbish and just don’t fill me up. Gosh, there’s real stodgy foods on the menu today. Lasagne in this heat? Mind you, it is delicious. Oh wait, they’ve got fritters, oh that looks a bit better, I’ll have a salad with it, keep it a bit more fresh!” “Hi, Cheryl – yes I’m eating fritters. Hmm? Do I know the calorie content of them? No, delicious though, can you pass the mayo?”
At home: “Aah, what a lovely evening. Those dark chocolate nuts I had earlier were amazing. Ok, I think I’m going to go for a walk, been sitting down for ages. I’ll have some of the veggie gratin thing I made yesterday that I was supposed to eat for lunch today.” “That was delicious. Mmm, I always like a bit of something sweet for dessert. What have I got? I don’t feel like I should be eating too many sweet things. They aren’t really good for me and they just make me crave all the more. So, I don’t think I’ll have chocolate tonight, anyways, I’m going out tomorrow and I much prefer the chocolate cake in that restaurant to this rubbish! Ooh, I’ve got almond butter, yes, delicious. I’ll have some fruit. Perfect. Just what I want.”
- Is aware of weight and nutrition, and also doesn’t want to gain weight, but she is working to keep it in perspective and doesn’t let it take over. She never blames herself for what she looks like, and gently nudges her decisions to serve her the best. If she’d wanted the chocolate in the house, she would have had it. She makes decisions that actually feel really right for her. When she thought about the chocolate cake, she made that decision not out of guilt but wanting more pleasure tomorrow than the chocolate she had in the house. She’s willing to work for her future self, whilst also making an effort to be whole and connected to the moment.
- Most of her food is chosen for how it will make her feel, and it tends to be a range of foods that are often more whole foods. She knows she likes some white bread and sugary stuff, but doesn’t always pick them because they don’t taste as good as she’d like. And what she likes is very important to her. She has made herself a priority and isn’t ashamed of pleasure in food. She doesn’t count calories or fat grams or food numbers. She looks at food more holistically.
- She doesn’t engage in diet culture. She doesn’t follow dieting trends or people on social media who could make her feel negative. She exercises in a way that respects her body and listens to herself. She moves because she knows her body needs to move. She also feels better for it. Weight doesn’t always factor into her exercise, it’s more of a commitment she has made to her body as she knows her body was made to move. She also feels good mentally for it in the long run as it keeps her calmer each day.
- She is actively working on her mindset by taking time for herself, meditating and being in nature. She’s aiming to make it as much of a routine as possible.
- She sometimes gets caught up in how she looks and she worries about weight gain, but she isn’t willing to be negative to herself. She knows that finding balance and accepting herself is a work in progress and she knows that being kind to herself is the most important thing. That looks different every day but it’s a value she isn’t willing to let go of.