Post Traumatic Diet Disorder
PTDD, Post Traumatic Diet Disorder is a term that was used by the Vancouver Globe and Mail newspaper recently describing the state of "chronic dieters" in our western culture today.The amount of people who struggle with weight after a diet and continue to try different "diets" for the remainder of their lives is insanity…and quite sad to say the least. Its a self punishing tool that becomes so ingrained that people don't even see it as such any more. It appears to be the quick fix solution that offers it all : hope, confidence, health, energy, freedom, happiness, and beauty….
But does it?
The article in the Globe and Mail newspaper described a diet as "nothing but a TRAUMA" !('The Globe and Mail ,BC Edition' - 2014-08-11 Every diet includes a self sabotage system which begins with a fast or restriction of some kind, an element of under-eating, over exercise, calorie counting, obsessive mirror checking, daily weigh in's, and of course the almighty gold star at the end of the day for a job well done…or that dreaded black X. The most insane part about all of this is that DIETS DON"T WORK and leave the individual feeling defeated, exaughsted and starving!
The result is what has been described as Post Traumatic Diet Disorder, whereby human beings are living in fear of food. People are left confused and devastated when they gain all the weight back after the" successful "diet and are left to the only possible conclusion…they didn't do it well enough, they didn't try hard enough…they simply are not "enough. "Diet failure" mentality has lead to insecurity, a loss of hope and depression amongst millions and yet, as a culture we are still caught up in this idea. Diet comes now under new, more hip "code" words such as "cleanse", "fast", or " way of life". New "organic" extreme eating methods are all the rage and are even trendy in high school and amongst pre-teen children! Society is obsessed with "skinny" and people younger and younger each year are becoming afraid to eat!
This interplay on words DIET and TRAUMA are nothing show of brilliant in my opinion. Diets do nothing but create an ongoing self defeating story of defectiveness. I am in full agreement with Freedhoff's recommendation to this self induced trauma: to embrace our humanness, and accept our own unique bodies as well as committing to a journey of self love, without restriction.
The following are some simple steps for a problematic eater to begin just that:
1. Throw Away the Scale- Using a scale to determine how " good" you are is only adding to the negative self talk and only creates more of a division between your ability to trust yourself and your connection with your own body. Let it go- its just not important. 2. NEVER Skip a Meal -This is a big one and I don't think I can stress the importance here enough. Eat breakfast within 20 minutes of getting up and never skip a meal in the day. If you have a "slip up" with food in the day, just get right back on track at your next meal. 3. Save the Cleanses and Detoxes for Somebody Else-.This is a "diet in disguise" for a problematic eater. If you are someone who struggles with eating "normally" then its best to leave the extreme health trends to others. 4. Plan your Meals- NOT "DIET "YOUR MEALS ! - This is an important step that is often confused with "dieting". A food plan is simply having an idea what your day around food will look like. When are the meals, and the snacks ? What are some good healthy options ? If you are new to this process you may need to get more specific with what you PLAN to eat…but no calorie counting or restricting here. If it serves you to leave certain foods out, thats fine but make sure every meal and snack is something you WANT to eat and eat is SLOWLY. 5. Re- Vamp your Inner Perfectionist Thinking- Looking at the THINKING that is creating your problematic eating is especially important for long term healing. Put down those negative thoughts ON PAPER ! Write an affirmation that you believe to be true for each thought. Repeat until that thought looses its edge and the anxiety passes. * It is often helpful to work with someone who is skilled with this process in the beginning.
Learning to live without the should's, the restricting, and the inner perfectionist is a journey. Be gentle and trust that you absolutely can heal FOR LIFE. This has been my experience- there truly is a solution.
PTDD …it's just not worth it.
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