What Could Life Be Like Without Dieting?

Last year I wrote a blog post entitled “What is your disordered eating costing you?” In it, I listed just a few of the ways – financially, emotionally, and time-wise – obsessive thinking about food, eating, and our bodies robs us of our real lives.

Have you noticed how this has played out in your own life? And do you ever wonder what you would do with the time, money, energy, and emotional wellness you might gain if eating and weight weren’t always on your mind?

Can we dream a little bit?

With the money saved from no longer buying diet books/magazines/apps, food delivery services, cleanses and detoxes, and maintaining a closet with 3 sizes, you might:

  • Not have to cringe every time you open your credit card statement
  • Live more comfortably and worry less about money overall
  • Invest in clothing that fits and makes you feel wonderful
  • Build a nest egg for retirement (or a pied a terre in Paris)
  • Redecorate your apartment or home
  • Adopt a pet and spoil him or her rotten
  • Experience more of the cultural events or natural resources your city or town has to offer
  • Take the trip you’ve always dreamed of to Florence, Thailand, or the Galapagos Islands

With the time previously spent on thinking – no, obsessing – over food, mentally going over what you’ve eaten each day, lamenting your body and weight like a broken internal record, and participating in fat- and diet-speak, you might:

  • Learn a language
  • Start dating again
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about
  • Take a class to learn how to make sushi or Indian food
  • Start reading something other than diet or health-related books again
  • Get to know the friends you used to discuss dieting and weight with on a deeper level
  • Take up salsa, bellydancing, aerial yoga, stand up paddling, snowboarding, or some other physical activity you actually enjoy

With the emotional energy saved from no longer feeling anxious and paranoid about eating or from planning, executing, and then regretting a diet or a binge, you might:

  • Rediscover some of the lovable things about yourself, like how you’re always there for a friend with a joke or a supportive word
  • Start to notice the subtler qualities of living in your now-body, like when it feels good and how it likes to be pampered
  • Enjoy the process of getting to know yourself, like figuring out what foods and activities make you feel happy, whole, and well
  • Rediscover physical pleasure and sexual intimacy (with yourself or someone else)
  • Find the time with your kids, significant other, friends, and family just a little more colorful, joyful, and precious
  • Notice little things you might not have seen in a while – the quality of the sunlight in the late afternoon, the look of icicles close up, how the eyebrows on that Schnauzer remind you of your great uncle

Can you allow yourself to dream about what life might be like if you weren’t always thinking about dieting? What would you add to this list?

These possibilities aren’t as far away as they seem. What stands between you and them is the decision to start taking a closer look at how a fixation on food, eating, and weight is truly affecting your well-being. From that first step, it’s a process of courageously challenging your thoughts and beliefs while staying deeply connected to your body and the present moment.

If this interests you, I’ll be exploring this further in an upcoming online e-course I’m teaching with Susan Piver called the Dharma of Diet. It will begin on March 9th and run for four Mondays. We’ll be discussing:

  • How to reconnect with internal signals of what, when, and how much to eat
  • Ways to feed the non-physical (or heart) hunger that can lead us to the fridge or pantry when we really need a different type of nourishment
  • How to begin to treat your now-body with respect, dignity, and loving-kindness
  • How meditation can serve as the foundation for a sane relationship with food and your body

For more information about Susan or the Dharma of Diet, click here. And to make the jump and register, click here.