These are 26 things that only a yo-yo dieter would understand:

  1. You walk into a room and check to see if you’re the fattest person
  2. You think your skinny friends are being ridiculous when they talk about how their body issues
  3. You say to yourself “I’m just going to finish this packet of (insert high-fat/salt/sugar/calorie food), and then I’ll never eat them again”
  4. You say to yourself “I’m going to eat all of the junk food in the house so it’s gone and then I’ll start my diet Monday”
  5. You do # 4, but then don’t start the diet Monday!
  6. You look back at old photos and say “why didn’t I think I looked ok then?…I wish I could be that weight now!”
  7. You tell yourself you won’t eat a certain food…and then you can’t stop thinking about that food.
  8. When you do eat that food, you say you’ll just have one (but you can’t just have one, right?)!
  9. You “know” your partner is lying when they say “I like you just the way you are”
  10. You don’t know whether to throw out your “fat” clothes or your “thin” ones.
  11. You are always on the lookout for the next big thing – the thing that will work for you…
  12. When you see an ad for this next big thing, you get super excited (“the after picture could be me!”)…
  13. Then, after you have purchased it, you have a sinking feeling, like “why did I buy that, that will never work for me!”
  14. You feel like you’ve won the consolation prize when people say “you have such a pretty face”.
  15. After all of the changing food pyramids, juice diets, Paleo, anti-fat, anti-meat, anti-sugar, stuff you’ve read, you really don’t know what to eat anymore.
  16. You won’t eat in public (and save all of the bingeing for when you’re home alone!)
  17. You worry about “giving” your weight issues to your kids.
  18. You feel like you’ve failed every diet under the Sun (rather than the other way around – as diets don’t actually work).
  19. You start the day with good intentions and finish with frustrations.
  20. You hate to love shows like “The Biggest Loser”.
  21. You have a love-hate relationship with your favourite food.
  22. You love to hate the gym.
  23. You are angry at society for not accepting you as you are, and wanting to make you conform to the slim ideal.
  24. You are angry at yourself not accepting yourself as you are, and for buying into the slim ideal anyway.
  25. And at the same time you still really want to be slim too.
  26. Somewhere, deep down, you still have some hope for a different future.

This is a bit of a different blog from me. I didn’t write it to stereotype you. I know not all big people are the same, and the last thing I would want to do is stereotype someone based on their weight. I wrote this to let you know you are not alone. And, while everyone is different, thank goodness there are common themes for professionals to work with. Find the right people, personally and professionally, to help you through this maze, and you will see your way out. And if you want someone who understands, you may not have to look too far… #weareallinthistogether

Post Script:

I showed this for a client to read, and they wanted me to add some type of supportive message (so it wasn’t all doom and gloom). This makes perfect sense, so here are my uncensored first thoughts on each point (hopefully they help):

  1. You walk into a room and check to see if you’re the fattest person – Don’t worry, most other people are doing the same, although the smaller ones may be more concerned with not being the ugliest, dumbest, or least popular”
  2. You think your skinny friends are being ridiculous when they talk about how their body issues – “Somewhat surprisingly, bigger people don’t have the market on body-image issues – I often tell clients if I had to be one of my bigger “weight management” clients or one of my smaller “eating disorder” clients, I’d choose a bigger client any day of the week!
  3. You say to yourself “I’m just going to finish this packet of (insert high-fat/salt/sugar/calorie food), and then I’ll never eat them again” – Allow yourself to eat it and LEARN to eat mindfully – it’s a skill, like riding a bike, but with practice you’ll pick it up.
  4. You say to yourself “I’m going to eat all of the junk food in the house so it’s gone and then I’ll start my diet Monday” – We call this the “Last Supper Effect” – it’s a symptom of dieting. If there’s no diet, there’s no need for a last supper!
  5. You do # 4, but then don’t start the diet Monday! –That’s good, because diets suck!
  6. You look back at old photos and say “why didn’t I think I looked ok then?…I wish I could be that weight now!” – this tells you you have a body image issue rather than a weight one – to be fully satisfied you will have to work on your mind as well as (or instead of) your waistline).
  7. You tell yourself you won’t eat a certain food…and then you can’t stop thinking about that food. – The converse is often true – allow it, and the thoughts will dissipate (trust me!)
  8. When you do eat that food, you say you’ll just have one (but you can’t just have one, right?)! – See #3.
  9. You “know” your partner is lying when they say “I like you just the way you are”. – Psychologists call this mind reading – you assume everyone else thinks the way you do, but “know” is in inverted commas for a reason.
  10. You don’t know wether to throw out your “fat” clothes or your “thin” ones. I think dress for NOW! Feeling good wherever you are only helps you relax and take better care of yourself.
  11. You are always on the lookout for the next big thing – the thing that will work for you… – Sometimes the “next big thing” may be more subtle and less “sexy” – a simple, balanced, self-caring way of being won’t get you five kilos weight loss a week, but may be the best thing.
  12. When you see an ad for this next big thing, you get super excited (“the after picture could be me!”)… – Learn “dieting resilience” – resilience towards the alluring “next big thing” that the diet industry has gets you hooked on.
  13. Then, after you have purchased it, you have a sinking feeling, like “why did I buy that, that will never work for me!” – Think about this before you buy it – then you can spend your money better elsewhere – like shoes 🙂
  14. You feel like you’ve won the consolation prize when people say “you have such a pretty face”. – This is a tough one – maybe your could take the compliment, or maybe respond “at least you’re good looking” and have them wonder what the secret criticism is 😉
  15. After all of the changing food pyramids, juice diets, Paleo, anti-fat, anti-meat, anti-sugar, stuff you’ve read, you really don’t know what to eat anymore. – I think your body knows – see #3 again – when you eat mindfully you can focus on foods that help you feel good and eat more of them, and be freer of foods that don’t make you feel so good. Combine flexible nutrition advice with intuition and keep it simple.
  16. You won’t eat in public (and save all of the bingeing for when you’re home alone!) – Aim to eat the same with or without others – a non-diet approach allows all foods, so you can educate those close to you, and who gives a stuff the people you don’t know!
  17. You worry about “giving” your weight issues to your kids. – See my blog – “think of the children“.
  18. You feel like you’ve failed every diet under the Sun (rather than the other way around – as diets don’t actually work). – If I told you my success rate was 3%, would you come and see me? No. Well that’s about the success of the diet industry (although I’ve never seen that in the ads?”)
  19. You start the day with good intentions and finish with frustrations. – Maybe you’re actually starting the day with “perfect” intentions, which are bound to go south at some stage. Aiming to “chip away” at behaviours may get better results – the old ones took a long time to develop, so have patience while you develop the next ones.
  20. You hate to love shows like “The Biggest Loser”. – Don’t watch it, it’s crap.
  21. You have a love-hate relationship with your favourite food. – When you learn just to love it, you will be able to eat it and enjoy it (yes, even you), and then you can be free of the hate (for the food and you for eating it).
  22. You love to hate the gym. – Ask yourself if you really hate it. If the answer is yes, do something else. Fortunately, you can be a happy, fit, healthy person without ever entering a gym if you don’t want to!
  23. You are angry at society for not accepting you as you are, and wanting to make you conform to the slim ideal. – There is a growing sub-culture of body acceptance of size diversity – the more people defect to this side, the freer we all become.
  24. You are angry at yourself not accepting yourself as you are, and for buying into the slim ideal anyway. – Don’t be angry, as you can’t help your implicit beliefs. Sometimes they are a “radio show” you just can’t turn off. But also understand you don’t have to listen.
  25. And at the same time you still really want to be slim too. See #24
  26. Somewhere, deep down, you still have some hope for a different future. – Keep the hope, but not to win the dieting war. Be smarter. Learn to make peace with food, movement, and your body.

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