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Thoughts on Fad Diets, Self-Esteem, and Unlearning

SilentpadnaSilentpadna Member Posts: 1,305 Member Member Posts: 1,305 Member
Not big on Star Wars as a philosophy of life, however Yoda’s words ring true when it comes to our relationship with food: “You must unlearn what you have learned”.

South Beach, Atkins, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Quick Weight Loss, etc. All thriving profit-generating corporations. (Profit-generating corporations are a good thing in my book, but…).

We are inundated with images of super-models and amazing too-good-to-be-true success stories, but very few of the marketing that goes with it really helps identify some of the traps. Partly, I think, because they depend on the self-esteem traps that people readily fall into in order for their products and services to be successful. Now, as a tool for doing what is necessary, and for those folks that really need the help to get into a successful routine, they can make some sense. For me, I tried Nutrisystem for a while and it did not work for me. I tried doing P90X (made it through the 90 days 7 years ago), but I didn’t really do the food part correctly. When my wife and I tried to follow the food recommendations, we were quickly priced out of it.
There are many amazing real success stories, especially here on MFP, that do not come from anything other than cleaning up what goes in and adjusting what goes out. Those tools can help, but those tools are just tools.

In February, my wife decided to purchase the Beachbody On-demand package. Since P90X was the only program I ever stuck to in terms of exercise, I was happy she did (mostly because I could not even come close to doing the routines now – well I’m getting closer now after about a month a P90 – without the X). This time, however, I had begun to look into MFP and voraciously read the forums – I’m a geek that way. Anyhow, I’m getting to my main point, really I am….

After unlearning what I had always thought were truths, I am now convinced that we will win this battle in the kitchen. And the only real way to do that is to create a calorie deficit we can live with. If that means 1 pound/week, 1.5 or 2 or whatever, then that’s what it will have to be. But the only way to create that deficit is to know what goes in and what goes out – or at least get close (I know – the body is complicated). I have learned that tracking is everything.

Other things to unlearn: my self-esteem does not come from what I look like. [Skip this part if religion offends]. My self-esteem does not come from anything external – other people can let you down. For me, my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. My “why” for doing this is that. Whatever I’m called to do, whoever I am called to help – I need to be in position to do that. [End religious section].

I have a fair amount of weight to lose. I’m 5’11”, and was 240 at the beginning of February. Down to 226 late last week. I know this stuff works. My initial goal is to get to 190, but I’m thinking I may want to go further than that. We’ll see.

Back to the point. I unlearned that I need to be miserable and always hungry in order to do this. I have relearned that you can eat quite a bit and not be hungry if you eat the right things.

I have unlearned that you can’t eat carbs. Or that you can’t eat something sweet. (I know there are differing schools of thought out there). But I have learned that, as near as I can tell, reasonable caloric deficit trumps all else. And, within reason, your macros are those that work for you, because we’re not all the same.

I have unlearned that people are judging me about how I look and that it matters. I have learned that some people probably do judge me for how I look (and those people don’t matter to me at this point), and I have learned that less people judge me for that than I ever thought.

I have unlearned that how I look and what I weigh will cause my self-esteem to get better. I have learned that I can make those choices myself and that how I look and what I weigh will be more of an effect of my self-esteem than a cause of it.

I love new knowledge. This is a great site, and if you’ve read this far, you must either be really bored, or a glutton for punishment, but thanks just the same.
edited March 2017

Replies

  • L1zardQueenL1zardQueen Member Posts: 8,657 Member Member Posts: 8,657 Member
    Knowledge is power! Way to go! And yes, I'm a glutton for punishment!
  • JacquiH73JacquiH73 Member Posts: 126 Member Member Posts: 126 Member
    I have unlearned that people are judging me about how I look and that it matters. I have learned that some people probably do judge me for how I look (and those people don’t matter to me at this point), and I have learned that less people judge me for that than I ever thought.

    The thing I learned on this journey is body shaming works both ways. People will try to shame you for being overweight and people will try to shame you for being thin. I learned to say scwew those people. I'm beautiful regardless of what the scale says. I don't care what anyone thinks. This is for me and not anyone else.

  • winejunky143winejunky143 Member Posts: 153 Member Member Posts: 153 Member
    Great read! I hate that our youth is being hand fed images of what is "beautiful" on social media but I have to admit that's what got me into this app and on a healthier path. I am currently doing Insanity and I'm going to start Nutrisystem in a week. I hope it works for me.. I need to as you said "unlearn" that people are judging me and that my self-esteem is dependent on how I look and what I weigh. Thanks for you insightful post!
  • Theo166Theo166 Member, Premium Posts: 2,514 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,514 Member
    Thinking of 'unlearning' I've recently read it takes 66 days to form a habit (not 4 wks).

    I'll almost at 66 days of consecutive logging here on MFP, so in the home stretch!
  • zannajunezannajune Member Posts: 15 Member Member Posts: 15 Member
    I've had to do a lot of unlearning lately too. It's interesting how we think we're on the right track and then a year or more goes by and we look back and realize that we really didn't know it all. I think that's how it'll be for the rest of my life, always learning and relearning. Finding what works and doesn't work and making adjustments.

    I've too had to unlearn that I have to feel hungry all the time to make this work. This time around I'm filling up and a lot of vegetables and healthy carbs and I rarely feel hungry ( and I'm only eating 1200-1400 calories most days!). I've had to unlearn that all carbs are bad. When I eat healthy carbs (I'm talking things other than white bread, white flour, etc) I actually feel better. And as a new vegan it has been even more important for me to accept carbs into my life.

    Thanks for the post! It was fun to look back on all the things I've also had to relearn.
  • Niki_FitzNiki_Fitz Member Posts: 942 Member Member Posts: 942 Member
    I have unlearned that how I look and what I weigh will cause my self-esteem to get better. I have learned that I can make those choices myself and that how I look and what I weigh will be more of an effect of my self-esteem than a cause of it.

    Older thread here, I know, but thanks for ^ this. I'm working on unhooking my self esteem from my size and appearance and this idea is, IMO, difficult but so important.
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