This is the hardest, saddest, worst part of the diet cycle. Finally, the thing we feared the most is happening. Our clothes grow tighter. If we dare weigh ourselves we see the numbers climbing. We try to hold on and keep the eating under control. We make vows. We pretend it’s just a temporary setback. We try new tactics like juicing or cutting out carbs. But sooner or later the weight comes back. Not all at once, but eventually, and we end up right here we started; fat and miserable.
LOWER SELF-ESTEEM, MORE SHAME
I don’t know anyone who isn’t sensitive about gaining weight, who doesn’t feel worse about her/himself when those numbers on the scale go up and the jeans get tight. Just as weight loss is affirming and encouraging, weight gain is depressing. Many people who lose the diet war feel defeated and self-rejecting, even guilty. They may feel ashamed and embarrassed when they fail at dieting. They know that people look at them and think they don’t even try—but dieters do try!
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There is a saying that I’ve heard in chemical dependence centers: Denial ain’t no river in Egypt. The human spirit is remarkably resilient. We resist defeat. We pick ourselves up and try all over again. We keep on keeping on. We never give up. We try different angles. We invent a different tool. We are innovative. These are good traits and account for much success in people’s lives. But when it comes to dieting, this willingness to try and try the same thing again puts us in the grip of the feast or famine cycle—the never-ending weight loss, weight gain merry-go-round.
Dieting makeovers abound and we are ripe for the picking because we don’t want to give up on something as important as our bodies. We slip into denial when, having regained all the weight back from the last diet—or perhaps just a portion of it—we look for a new, different, proven method to lose weight. Remembering Chapter 1, we all know what this looks like and where it leads.
Regaining control over our eating and appetite comes with the next famine—the new diet. Having come full circle, rebounding and getting settled into the higher weight, we are determined to win this time. Girded by denial and a brand new diet program with special features and promises, we embark
once again, knowing we can control our wayward appetites and stick to the new, improved program forever. Once we are on our way, losing weight once again, we get that infusion of optimism and good feelings about ourselves.