Why is weight loss so hard? Here is a radical thought: it is NOT because diets don't work.

Between freezing cold winds and my flu I haven’t been out walking much. Can’t wait for spring!

Between freezing cold winds and my flu I haven’t been out walking much. Can’t wait for spring!

In the last two weeks I re-gained 5 lbs. And Intuitive Eating proponents will nod their heads and say: “Of course you did. Diets don’t work.” It would be so easy to blame my diet, to put it all on an ‘external’ system that sets us up for failure, to throw up my hands and say “it’s not my fault.

As so often in life this is not a black or white situation. While the diet mentality applied over a lifetime can be very damaging and indeed lead to long-term weight gain and health issues, this is only one part of a more complex bigger picture. And where we need to dig deep into our own souls to try and find some answers. My Intuitive Dieting approach works because it uses dieting methods only to control portions (so to create the needed calorie deficit for weight loss) but for everything else it very much relies on Intuitive Eating and my body’s cues about what it wants to eat and when. It works.

However.

Intuitive Dieting requires attention, and attention calls for a level of energy that is hard for me to keep up consistently. Energy comes easier when my life is in flow but throw anything at me that knocks me off my routine - like my mom’s sudden passing 3 years ago, or moving homes every year, or getting sick - and it becomes much harder for me to fuel my attention. I came down with the flu almost 4 weeks ago and I am still not 100%. I am definitely better but there are lingering symptoms plus I am still not sleeping well, all of which is resulting in a profound lack of energy and an increase in my anxiety levels. And we all know what that means: good-bye attention and cooking, hello Chinese take-aways and 5 lbs regained.

Sigh.

One thing has become very clear to me though: when I stop counting calories I am not abandoning my diet, I am abandoning my attention. This feels like an important realization because it brings me closer to the core of my resistance and makes me wonder: what can I do to build up my resilience so that these situations don’t throw me off my path so violently? Which ultimately leads me to this question:

How do I deal with my anxieties and life (events) without resorting to food for comfort?

It’s a big question for a lifetime emotional eater and there are no quick answers. However, in view of needing to focus on getting my health back on track and also being very busy at work (I don’t often talk about my business here but that’s another area that is requiring a lot of my attention right now) I am making a few decisions:

  • I am closing the Resistance to Resilience program, for now. Which was a really hard decision to make as I loved working on the program, when I had the time. But time, unfortunately, was always lacking and I had essentially overcommitted myself. As mentioned above I run a successful online business which requires most of my digital energy and there just isn’t much left to manage a program like R2R on top of everything else. Having said this, I am making changes to my business because I want to create a better work/life balance and once they are in place I will re-evaluate the feasibility of continuing with R2R.

  • I am closing the private Facebook group that accompanied my program. Another hard decision because I love the community aspect of sharing this journey with others. Alas, I already manage four business related Facebook groups and even though The Reluctant Cook is not a very active group it still requires more energy than I have to give at this point. I have always loved the idea of being an inspirational and even directional force for others who are dealing with similar challenges but I realized that I just need to focus on my own path right now. Having said this…

  • The Reluctant Cook blog with stay open. I will continue to post recipes here and write about my journey. There is a simple reason for this: writing is cathartic for me and because I am a designer I love sharing my stories and photos through this medium. I will happily engage with readers in the comment section and you can also subscribe to my posts in the sidebar →

  • The Reluctant Cook Instagram will stay open. I love Instagram and I love food photography so this is not going anywhere 😊

  • I am stopping calorie counting but I am not giving up on weight loss. I am still morbidly obese and my reasons for wanting to lose weight are still valid so I am looking at other ways to achieve this safely and realistically. I will share more about this on here as and when I am ready.

  • I want to go deeper with regards to Intuitive Eating. While the founders of Intuitive Eating reject weight as a parameter for our health (something I don’t fully agree with) and as such don’t support weight loss as a goal, they are mostly focused on nourishing a healthier relationship with food and, ultimately, ourselves. I am particularly interested in their approach to emotional eating and have decided to get the Intuitive Eating Workbook and start working through that.

So that’s where I am at right now. A familiar place yes and no. I’ve abandoned calorie counting many times before but whereas in the past that has always left me feeling relieved followed by a sense of defeat and self-doubt, I am actually just feeling calm about it. This process is what I make it and by stripping it down to its bare bones I glimpse a different kind of direction towards freedom and peace.