Diet Panic


Every overweight person knows what the diet panic is.

Being overweight is a complex dilemma. It’s just not as simple a situation as it sounds. You might or might not get that, and I can live with that. There are a lot of things in this world I don’t get. If you ask most overweight people if they would like to wake up in the morning and be thin, I think they would say yes. But that’s not an option. It will take months. Maybe longer. No catchy slogans (“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” What?) and no amount of cheering on is going to make this easy. You can’t watch enough Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, The Doctors or Jerry Springer to get the inspiration you need to embark on a weight loss journey.

You can’t do it for someone else. You can be mindful of your children, mate, friends and even the world – all impacted by your choices. But the effort to lose weight, eat healthier, and deny self is a gargantuan task when the clock hits noontime. It’s not really hunger, it is the power of habit that moves into action. More, it is the urge of the body to receive the kind of input to which it has become accustomed. Even more, it is the feeling (for an overweight person) that much of this world is denied them – but this plate of food is the moment of enjoyment that cannot be taken away. Is there a chemical dependency going on here, too? I would not rule that out either.

Yes, there are enough emotional dissonance issues wrapped up in a platter of fried chicken to keep a psychoanalyst busy for years. If it was easy and just a matter of making a few good choices then America would be getting thinner, not fatter.

It is only in light of this that one can understand diet panic. My large brothers and sisters are ahead of me I’m sure. Diet panic sets in on the day before you take the plunge. Even though you’ve done it a thousand times and you have doubts that this is going to last that long… tomorrow you are going to be eating like a rabbit. That means today is your last chance to eat your favorite food. I know, it doesn’t make sense. It is self-defeating. It is the opposite of the kind of thinking that we need to be engaged in. I know all this. But that panic sets in. The day before a diet has fat people scurrying around the grocery store like Templeton at the fair. I know all about it.

Thanks for the private messages I’ve received, and the comments on Facebook. There’s been an assortment – and that is to be expected. To this point I may sound a bit pessimistic about anyone making progress on their eating problem. I have too many times entered into a weight loss endeavor with innocent optimism, a kind of wide-eyed positive believism … only to be inhaling a bag of Doritos before the end of the week. I’m not interested in failing again (for the 100th time). Nor am I interested in encouraging anyone reading this to just jump right in. It’s much better to know what you’re facing.

It’s also important to know that it can be faced. There is victory to be had. I’ve had it at various times in my life and I know it is not out of reach. It’s just not easy or simple. It is war. Are you ready to declare war against the habits in your life that have brought about this morbid obesity? If you are not, do yourself a favor and wait a while. Take it from me, losing the same 20 lbs every 6 or 8 months is mistreating yourself.

Don’t worry about the diet panic. You have a big battle ahead. This is not it.

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