Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's Eating Us?

We live in a world where the diet industry is a mega cash cow! The Wall Street Journal recently published a press release stating that the diet industry is currently worth $109 Billion and is expected to reach 137 billion in 2017.

At the dentist this morning, I felt bombarded by diet chit chat. The office has these fancy TVs pointing at you as they polish your smile. Commercials, news segments on the Today Show showing the latest diet trends, and celebrity banter about weight loss pointed me to write this post.

The North America Weight Loss / Obesity Management Market was worth $104 billion in the year 2012 and is expected to reach $139.5 billion by 2017. U.S. is the largest market, followed by Canada. The market will grow at a healthy pace in the next five years due to the increasing number of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and cardiac problems, increasing personal disposable income, government initiatives to increase awareness of health and fitness, and technological advancements.

This market includes: commercial diets such as Weight Watchers, weight loss surgery, pills, wellness plans, nutritional counseling, diet foods, books and yes diet soda. One of the companies highlighted as a big diet industry player is Coca-Cola. (And pepsi too.)

As a recovered anorexic, I have passion to understand why we use food (or lack thereof in an anorexic's case) to numb out, pig out, or tune out our hard emotions. Food is a legalized drug.

No diet book, surgery, calorie counting, restricting, gluten free, fat free, sugar free, low sodium food item is going to solve your weighty woes.

The hard work starts with the 'ol noggin.

The food is not the problem. It's the symptom.

What is going on in your life that you want to restrict or overeat? Are any of your important relationships suffering? Are you in a job you dislike? Is your house a mess and full of clutter? Are you holding onto resentment? Are you holding a grudge? Are you scared to be who you were meant to be?

You see it time and time again. Even with me, I tried to heal anorexia by eating again. Sure, I thought, I will gain back the weight, eat some foods I had been avoiding, and exercise moderately. It worked for awhile and then I relapsed...back to my old ways. I did not work on what was eating me. For others, they go on a crazy exercise regimen, eat high protein foods, drop weight and then six months later, they are back to their old size. You gotta fix the inside too! It's not just an outside job.

I dug deep to the pit of my soul to heal anorexia. And it took A LOT of tries. It is still an inside job I take seriously day by day.

Any of you suffering with an eating disorder (binging, emotional eating, anorexia, obesity, restricting, overexercising, bulimia), I want you to know three things.

1. No diet will ever work. No fat burners, prescription drugs, prepackaged diet foods will solve your unhealthy relationship with food. Start today with sitting quietly for one minute. One. Ask yourself, this question, what is Eating me? What is one thing I can let go of today that will free me from this prison of treating myself poorly? It may be very emotional. Believe me its heavy stuff. Why do you reach for the 7th cookie? What are you avoiding or stuffing? Why do you look in the mirror and hate what you see? A therapist may help. Talk to a trusted friend. Journal it out.

2. Watch a healthy person eat and move. Do you know someone who exercises moderately, is at a healthy weight, and eats what they want? I am pretty sure they do not calorie count, exercise for two hours a day, and eat a box of chocolates at ten o'clock at night. They listen to their bodies. They don't worry while they are eating, "is this gonna make me fat? I shouldn't be eating this!, (blah blah mind chatter)I really think the best advice is eat real food (i.e., no food label on it) and enjoy some junk food when you feel like indulging but be sensible. Catch yourself eating too much and go distract yourself with your favorite hobby or have some fun with your favorite pal.

3. From the bottom of my heart, I want you to know this: You are full of possibility. You are full of courage. You are full of love. Set all of that on fire today and make just one person's day with your words or actions. I promise it will change your day. :) And your life!

I don't have the answers and either does the diet industry or the government. There is no magic pill.

Anyone I have ever known who has ever successfully recovered from depression, an addiction, divorce, eating disorder, being overweight has done it through loving themselves enough to do the hard work of healing emotional wounds and surrounding themselves with a great support team of unconditional loving people. Do the work, keep the faith, and keep your circle tight with loving caring pals.

Save your money and love yourself inside and out.

Love and Light,

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