Have you been on the dieting merry-go-round so long you don't remember where the exit is or how to get off? Does the ride look like this? Start a diet, go "on" a program, initiate an eating plan, begin a workout routine. Start another diet, go back "on" the program, initiate another eating plan, begin another workout routine. Have you become stuck in this cycle? Is the journey taking you where you want to go? If it is, why are you still stuck in it? If it isn't, perhaps you have been on the wrong ride.
For decades, marketers have encouraged, promoted, and sold the next great eating program, weight loss plan, and exercise routine because people have been buying. They have helped create a society obsessed with chronic dieting and fitness. A merry-go-round way of life that keeps going around and around and up and down. As George Jetson says at the end of the episode of the Jetson's, "Help, help, Jane, stop this crazy thing!" Perhaps you feel the same way.
Don't get me wrong, it is a good thing to take control of your health, but NOT through a chronic cycle of ups and downs, starts and stops, or beginnings and endings. Losing weight can improve joint pain, blood pressure, and blood sugar control. However, if the weight loss isn't maintained, the improvements most likely aren't either. In the end, what has been gained? I have had people adamantly tell me they have successfully lost 45 pounds on a dieting program before and they can do it again. While that's great, it leaves me to ask the question. What kept them from maintaining that 45-pound weight loss, to begin with? The answer is obvious to me but not easily accepted by them. Diets are things you begin and end. Programs are things you go on and go off. Routines are habits you start and stop. See the pattern?
Did you know you express your wellness culture and values through the diets, programs, plans, and routines you begin and end? The value of the quick fix over the value of hard work. The value of results over the value of effort. The value of fitness over the value of health. The value of programs over the value of the practice. The value of sensitivity over the value of resilience. The value of segmentation over the value of wholeness.
Ask yourself these two questions. Are those the values you want to express? Are those the values you want to teach and instill in your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews? If you answered NO to either of those questions, let me suggest it is time for you to get off the merry-go-round. Allow me to point you toward the exit.
Understanding food and exercise values requires mindful awareness about what you do with food and exercise and why you do it. If your reasons arise from dieting plans and fitness programs, that is your starting point. Once you have become mindfully aware of the habits, rules, routines, and rituals you follow, you can begin to move beyond them. If you are ready to get off the merry-go-round of weight and fitness and move toward the values of wholeness and health, The Mindful Me Journey: A 40-Day Guided Journal Toward a Healthier Relationship with Food and Exercise can lead you toward a different ride from the experience of an integrative health professional.