The real remedy for Weight Loss Fantasy Disorder
You see it everywhere, she might be nestled in the corner of the vision board, a solitary picture of a bikini clad model or perhaps someone who looks like you, but a bit slimmer, in a beautiful dress with a big smile on her face. She may not stand out amongst the other pictures of exotic holidays, cars, hobbies, parties, romantic scenes, book deals, dollar bills or whatever else women like to put on their vision boards.
But honestly, the picture of the slim body should really be in the center of the vision board. Because everything else in the vision is dependent upon it. Or so it seems. It’s like the king pin, the one log that’s blocking up all the others heading downstream. You want all the things on the vision board, but if you could only have one, you would choose slim. Because you in the new house, fat, you on the summer holiday, fat, you in your lover’s arms - fat, you in your TV interview - fat, well it just doesn’t work. The whole fantasy rests on you running around the scenes of your life looking fabulous. In fact, it can even feel like all the other attainments are depending on the weight goal attainment.
Considering that 50% of the female population is on a diet at any one time, that so many women list weight loss as a very important goal, plus the amount of businesses cashing in on this holy grail of happiness, we could say Weight Loss Fantasy Disorder has reached epidemic proportions in western society. It is a kind of mental illness. The symptoms of which are:
- Believing that when you reach a certain dress size or weight that your life will properly begin - Believing that weight loss will bring you sexual confidence - Believing that weight loss will bring you love, approval, admiration - Believing that when your body/eating issue is finally under control you can start working on the other areas of your life that need improving - Believing that slim people are generally happier or more ‘sorted’ than you - Believing that if you could just have more motivation, will power, fix yourself, just eat less, you could finally get the body and all its accompanying rewards and even though you failed over and over for years, this time will be different
Has anyone else noticed that the suicide rate amongst women is rising rapidly, and eating disorders are amongst the most common reasons cited. This is appalling. This is evidence of a deep sorrow nestled in the hearts of women that have no hope of having the body they so desperately want, because they can’t give up eating what they so desperately want.
The strange thing about the above list of beliefs, is there is a partial truth in it. The periods in my life where I had the most stable eating patterns, were the times when all the other areas of my started to fall into place. However, there is a big difference between stable eating patterns and weight loss. It’s not the extra kilos that are holding you back from your richer more fulfilling life, it’s your unstable eating patterns that are wreaking havoc on your dreams.
Unstable eating patterns are caused by trying to reach a goal weight by restricting eating habits, using hope and will power to keep you on track, but then rebelling, and regretting, and in between your weight keeps fluctuating, causing loss of confidence in yourself at a fundamental level. Why can’t I just do what I need to do to get what I want?
Most people then blame their pesky subconscious and attempt to override it with affirmations, visualizations, vision boards, and many other methods to break through their conditioning. Which may have a temporary or limited effect.
What I am going to suggest as an alternative to working on your weight is working on your eating patterns and particularly on your need to eat when you are not hungry. Its sounds obvious and simple and awfully like a diet, but it’s completely different. There is no hope, no fantasy, not weight loss dreams, just a clear acknowledgment that I eat often when I am not hungry and that means something is amiss. You don’t need to fix your whole psychology and heal your deep childhood traumas before you start eating less. In fact, this is one of the excuses we use to keep eating. I must have deep issues, let me try to visualize them, meditate them, affirm them and heal them out of my consciousness, then I will eat less.
I suggest a more stoic approach. The ‘just do it’ school of thought. You can’t resolve issues in your life unless you actually face them. And facing them means not numbing yourself with food. Now you obviously can’t just stop eating now. But you can make an impeccable decision to not eat until 3 hours from now. You’ve just had lunch, you are full. Any urge that comes up to eat before those 3 hours, is your addictive eating habit. Give in to it and you are strengthening it. Talk back to it. Recognize it for the trickster it is. Not giving into that programmed desire, can feel uncomfortable as long as you are battling it. But the more decisions you make asserting your personal power, the less the additive desire will speak back to you. It’s not a lifetime commitment to austerity. It’s a simple commitment to pass the next three hours without eating.
Those three hours will bring into clear focus all the excuses and voices with which you regularly sabotage yourself. And by facing them, you start to clear away layers of subconscious programming. This is more effective that staring at a picture of a slim body, trying to affirm you deserve that, whilst your inner glutton is affirming that you really do deserve that piece of cake. Those three hours will force you to be more honest with yourself that you could ever be with a therapist. Those three hours may feel like torture, you may have to take yourself to bed. But as long as you keep getting through those three hours, slots, you will be gaining back power from your habit. As you keep stretching yourself to face time without your food pacifier you will find that you are more comfortable with just being with yourself. From that peace of mind, inspirations will have space to arrive. You will start to get more active, more productive, more creative, more social. Or whatever else constitutes are good life for you. But you didn’t get there by winning the weight loss lottery, you got there by facing your own deep illusion that you need more food to feel ok. The real prize isn’t a slim body, it’s a free mind.
By the way, it’s important to also realise, that those demons of illusion will try to sneak in once your three-hour slot is up. You can gain even more strength in your ability to keep good your own inner word, by deciding before you eat how much you are going to eat. You will probably excuse an extra plate by saying you are still hungry, but it not hunger, it’s the old comfort eating habit trying to sneak in on the back of a meal. Recognise what it is and again face that uncomfortable feeling of not getting what you want, and you will actually begin to get what you really want. Whether you call it stoicism, growing up, delaying gratification or simply not being glutton, facing your eating addiction square on, is the only effective long-term remedy for Weight Loss Fantasy Disorder.
For follow up reading on facing eating addiction, I can highly recommend Gilley Rilley’s book Eating Less. I read her book over 10 years ago, and she is one of few voices of reasons in the world of dieting craziness.