Body Image and Dieting: Diet is a Four-Letter Word

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During my sophomore year of high school, I decided I needed to lose five to ten pounds.  Dieting was the only solution, or so I thought.  I was an athlete, so I felt the only other thing I needed to do was go on a diet.  Now that is an interesting phrase, because if you go on a diet, you imply you will eventually go off.

I mentioned to my dad that I was going on a diet, and he said it was a bad idea.  First, he didn’t think I was fat.  Secondly, he thought if I wanted to lose a few pounds I should just “cut back a little.”  I looked at him as if he had three heads.  “Dad, are you serious?!”  I asked.  I continued to educate him.  “Everyone knows that doesn’t work.”  I shook my head in disbelief, wondering how he could be so naive on such an important subject.  He certainly needed to spend more time reading Seventeen Magazine!

Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he’d learned in seven years.”  I could certainly relate to Twain’s comment once I realized years later that my first diet had launched me onto the escalator of the Ferocious Foursome.  I don’t remember what kind of a diet I went on, but I do remember the intense cravings caused by the dieting.  So I went from the first floor of the Ferocious Foursome, dieting, to the second floor of the Ferocious Foursome, which is binging.

The cravings started a millisecond after I decided to diet. I hadn’t even began the official “diet” when the mammoth cravings began.  I decided mid-week to start the following Monday.  You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you?  Apparently there is an unofficial eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt start dieting on Monday.”  Simply telling myself that I would begin dieting started to unleash craving monster within. Thinking I would never eat yummy foods again led to an all-out binge, which I had rarely (if ever) experienced before deciding to begin my first diet.

Even when I wasn’t bingeing, I began to eat more than my normal quantities of food.  First of all, I had no rules about eating before my diet started.   I ate what I wanted when I wanted, and since I loved to exercise, I’d never been overweight more than a few pounds.  But once I drowned myself in teen magazines promoting lookism, I began to think of myself as flawed because I was born with a muscular body type and loved sports.   It was clear that I was never meant to look like a catwalk model.  God had created me to be athletic and curvy.   Once I opened the golden door of Dieting, I realized it was actually made of plywood and covered with gold foil.  It led to another door called Bingeing, which led back to the golden tin foil door of Dieting.  Inside the drab room of nothingness called Dieting, I saw the Ferocious Foursome of Dieting, Bingeing, Overexercising, and Purging.  It was enough to make me dizzy.  Where would I turn next?

Body Image and The Biggest Loser: Meet a Two Decade Loser!

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“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times,” Mark Twain said. And I know this applies to weight loss. How many people have lost pounds upon pounds of weight only to gain it all back again? Usually they gain back even more. Many of them are career dieters who continue dieting again and again, always expecting different results. But research shows that almost never happens.

Most “dieters” are not dealing with the underlying current. That is, the reasons they became addicted to food in the first place. Most weight loss programs are focused only on the symptoms, and so they will not work over the long haul. So show me something different. Rather, show me someone different – someone who has lost the weight and kept it off for almost two decades. Show me Michael Prager, author of Fat Boy, Thin Man. Prager describes his food addiction, his love affair with food, and his profound and real recovery for almost twenty years.

Now that is certainly a story worth reading – almost twenty years of success. That is worthy of sharing because it gives true hope rather than false hope. That is certainly a future filled not with malt balls and cookie dough and a mountain of chips, but of pure, real, true 100% hope. That is a beautiful, glorious story and one to shout about from the top of the Space Needle to the Statue of Liberty.

I am in the process of reading Michael’s book, and am looking forward to crossing the life-changing finish line. If you or anyone you know struggles with obesity or emotional eating, Michael’s book is certainly worth a million times its weight in gold. So turn off “The Biggest Loser”, kick up your feet and delight yourself in a true story of success in the arena of long-term weight loss. Although I am not finished with the book yet, I know it will help anyone who struggles with binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, and/or food addiction. Check out Michael’s book and blog at http://www.fatboythinman.com. It click could be the click that changed your life.