How Much Time Is Wasted By Dieting?

Almost two decades of my life was spent going on never-ending diets in search of the Holy Grail of weight loss so I could acquire the body of a supermodel and live life happily ever after. I finally stopped this insane cycle after realizing the damage it was causing and decided I did not want to spend the rest of my life being obsessed with weight loss and being a certain size and shape. In the process of breaking free from the dieting trap, I have wondered how much time I have wasted thinking about diets, food, my body and weight loss and what I could have done differently with my time.

If you are stuck in the diet trap you can be consumed and waste time by:

  • Thinking about being fat
  • Thinking about weight loss
  • Waiting to find that one diet which will resolve your weight struggles once and for all
  • Feeling hungry trying to starve yourself to be thin
  • Being weighed in public like cattle at weight loss meetings
  • Trying to count calories
  • Thinking your bum, belly or thighs are too big
  • Thinking you’re not the wrong BMI or the wrong body for your height
  • Avoiding opportunities to socially connect with others in case you ruin your diet
  • Thinking you’ll get your dream partner/job/ideal body or self-confidence when you just get to that goal weight
  • Trying to think of ways to get out of exercising as it’s a chore and just a tool for weight loss
  • Worrying about that number on the scale and why it’s increased by 100 grams
  • Agonising whether you should buy that chocolate bar or not
  • Beating yourself up for failing to have ‘willpower’ to resist the chocolate bar
  • Thinking you’ll be a better person if you just lost some weight
  • Buying books, pills, weight loss programs and other weight loss paraphernalia that don’t work
  • Thinking you’re too blame for nothing ever working
  • Damaging your physical health and mental wellbeing in the pursuit of a goal weight that will be a cure to all of life’s problems

For a moment, just ask yourself:

  • Has any of this time been worth it?
  • Has any of this time improved your physical health?
  • Has any of this time made you feel good about yourself?
  • Has any of this time improved your social connection with others?
  • Has any of this time made you feel good about your body?
  • Has any of this time allowed you to have a healthy connection with food?
  • Has any of this time made you lose weight and keep it off?

Instead of being stuck in the trap of serial dieting, consider instead:

  • Embracing physical, mental and spiritual health rather than weight loss
  • Finding out about non dieting methods
  • Becoming aware of why and how you eat rather than depriving yourself of foods
  • Listening and respecting your body’s signals of hunger rather than following a strict dietary protocol
  • Learning about the nutritional benefits of food rather than the calorie or fat content
  • Making food choices based on environmental, community based or health reasons rather than for weight loss purposes
  • Finding your passion and working on hobbies
  • Seeing exercise as something you can do to improve your physical health, moods and social connection with others
  • Appreciating and respecting your body for what it allows you to do
  • Thinking about the connection food brings with loved ones
  • Thinking about how food can heal and support your body so it functions effectively

Weight loss diets are physically and psychologically destructive and escaping this cycle of chronic dieting is important for good health. How would you rather spend your time? What would you rather focus on?

If you have any other ideas of what you can do other than being obsessed with weight loss and being a certain shape and size, feel free to share in the comments below!

About Suzanne

has written 37 post in this blog.

Suzanne is the owner of Food, Mood and Attitude. Suzanne is passionate about sharing healthy messages about how we relate to food and our bodies. Life is too short too worry about big bums and diets that don't work.

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Suzanne is the owner of Food, Mood and Attitude. Suzanne is passionate about sharing healthy messages about how we relate to food and our bodies. Life is too short too worry about big bums and diets that don't work.

4 thoughts on “How Much Time Is Wasted By Dieting?”

  1. Hi Suzanne, very timely article. I have never been a dieter as such, I’ve always just cut the rubbish when I’ve needed to. BUT, I am finding this increasingly difficult to do. I find myself being more indulgent, and eating emotionally. I’m 46. I love healthy food, but I’m finding my willpower lacking, preferring breads, lollies and chocs! I think I’ll take your advice and focus on mental, spiritual and physical health, which in turn should lead to better food choices. What do you think? Any other suggestions? Great post!! Krishna

    1. There are so many different ways I could respond to your questions, Krishna! As a start, it find it very useful to add to my life rather than automatically cut out and take pleasurable stuff away, as that leads to loss and deprivation. In regards to diet, it’s worth asking yourself whether you are having enough recommended nutrients (Veggies, fruit, water, protein, essential fats etc) and find simple ways to incorporate these into your life, if needs be. When life gets busy diet can easily be neglected and cravings can increase if you’re not getting sufficient nutrients!

      I have personally found it very useful to seek professional help in managing sugar and food cravings as the body can be lacking in essential nutrients. Interestingly, even though I live on the Sunshine Coast in the Sunshine State I have been low in the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, Vitamin D. Research has found that low levels of Vitamin D increase food cravings among other things. That’s just one vitamin deficiency! Doctors specializing in nutritional medicine (of which there seems to be very few of and they seem to booked out months in advance) have been the most helpful for me in clearly pinpointing whether I’m getting sufficient nutrients. People often crave foods they are allergic too so it can be worth being allergy tested which a specialist doctor can do as well. Nutritionists and naturopaths have also been very helpful and comprehensive in their approach and they typically do consider emotional and lifestyle factors contributing to food cravings.

      Focusing on ways to improve overall wellness (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health) can be an effective way to reduce cravings. Although a holistic approach may not appear to be a specifically targeted approach (such as a Vitamin D supplement for a Vitamin D deficiency) it can be easy to overlook or not have full awareness of all the factors impacting on food cravings. For example, it can be very hard to detect when stressors everyone faces on a daily basis are starting to tip the balance and negatively impacting on the mind and body. So taking time out to relax, breath, laugh, socialize, be creative and have fun is very important! Filling up on those can reduce emotional eating.

      Mindful emotional eating is also a useful approach….more about that coming soon!

    1. Thanks Tracey! A comprehensive approach is needed to have a happy mind and your book The Happy Mind Formula certainly is comprehensive and filled with lots of ideas!

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