Is Cheating on your Diet Making you Feel

Copyright (c) 2007 Leeann Simons

The next time I hear someone say “I was bad” when referring to cheating on their diet, I just may have to shoot them. I meet successful people all the time — people who have achieved great things in business, sports, academics, you name it. I bet I could live very comfortably off just the taxes that some of these people pay!! Do they consider themselves successful? Are they happy with their lives? Generally speaking, yes, they do. But there is one area in which they consider themselves to be failures — and they would trade in their success any day to attain just this one goal: to lose weight.

Last week, one of my clients came into my office, head down, staring at the floor as if she were ashamed. She was ashamed. We exchanged our hellos, and I asked how she was doing. She looked sheepishly up at me and said, “I was bad.” I looked at her and heard myself ask, “Did you rob a bank?” “No,” she replied. “Did you shoot someone?” Again: “No.” So I asked her what possibly could have happened to make her so upset, and she said, “I ate three pieces of birthday cake at my daughter’s party.”

Why is it that people place judgment on themselves based on their eating behaviors? It’s maddening! Someone considers themselves a “bad” or “good” person according to what they have eaten? Doesn’t it sound crazy? Don’t you think someone is good or bad based on, well, whether they’ve robbed a bank? Abused their child? Voted for the other candidate?

Yet we measure our worthiness based on our eating behavior. Let’s stop this craziness, and put our relationship with food into perspective. It is just one of the many relationships we have in our lives. Relationships wax and wane-we’re not always happy with how the relationship is going, but the healthy ones last.

Let’s save the label of “bad behavior” for when we really shoot someone.

Becoming “at peace with food” is a journey that involves developing a new relationship with food. Instead of being marked by frustration and disappointment, by fear and competition between you and the food you eat, food will take its place as one of the many activities in your life, along with family, friends, working and being active. And, like these other activities, it should be pleasurable.

In order to be at peace with food, you need to learn about yourself and why you have the relationship you do with the food you eat. As with most relationships, your relationship with food was developed over time, and for that reason, will take time to change.