Today I want to talk about the last diet I ever went on before I actually threw in the towel on dieting for real, and that was:
The “Therapy Will Make Me Thin” Diet.
Sometimes this diet goes by other names, like…
The “Spiritual Fulfillment Makes You Thin” Diet
The “Healing Your Trauma Makes You Thin” Diet
The “Body Acceptance Makes You Thin” Diet
Or my personal favorite…The “Body Acceptance Makes You Thin” Diet
Right…because the Universe is an evil genius and is actively trying to f*ck with you.
I say, when you accept your body you’ll just be happier and whatever weight you’re probably meant to be, but that’s another post for another time.
Of course—therapy, spiritual practice, trauma resolution, and making peace with your body may all be valuable (if not critical) pieces of the diet-recovery process—after all, anxious attitudes around food and weight are correlated with trauma, negative body image, and other non-food-related mental health concerns.
That being said, there is NO evidence to suggest that size is an indication of mental health in any way, or that weight loss will be the natural result of any kind of psychological healing process (including recovery from binge eating).
Mental health professionals who suggest otherwise are making giant leaps and assumptions about the science of weight management that simply aren’t rooted in observable fact. More on this here.
This all to say,
I’m deeply concerned that the weight loss motive and messaging of this “diet” keeps folks trapped in an oppressive system wherein true freedom around food and weight is shallow at best, and impossible for most.
I worry that this way of thinking promotes the very dangerous and stigmatizing idea that one’s weight is an indicator of their mental health…when believe it or not, super happy, spiritually fulfilled and mentally healthy people come in all shapes and sizes.
I worry that folks are being made to feel like failures when their attempts at improving their mental or spiritual health do NOT produce permanent weight loss.
I worry that folks are not doing the deep-level body image work that will ultimately free them because they believe a magical-thinking solution will one day make them thinner.
Ultimately, I know that the “therapy-will-make-me-thin diet” is still an active attempt at body control, which could very well lead to frustration and rebellion (i.e. binge eating) in the long run.
If you’ve been told that thinness is a self-help-slogan-away and feel like you must be doing it wrong because permanent weight loss was not the result—please know you’re not alone, and there is another way to live…