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Week two: getting beyond the dieting delusion

dieting delusion

We are one week into our journey! How are you doing? Is it easier or more difficult than expected? Are you feeling any shifts — emotionally, physically, spiritually? I know it’s early in the game, but sometimes the push-off can be dramatic, making us aware of our habits and triggers. And awareness is a big part of this transformation process. Take a look back at your journal from this past week, if you’ve been keeping one, and see what your days looked like. I’ll give you a few insights into mine:

Things were not as peaceful or as mindful as I would have hoped. Home life was crazy; work was crazier. And sometimes I am my own worst enemy, making things more difficult than they need to be by getting in my own way. I plan to go for a walk but I haven’t taken the time to get out my winter boots and hat, so before I can go anywhere I have to dig through boxes in the basement and through baskets in the hall closet. By the time I was ready to leave I was frustrated and about ready to quit. I get up early to do some yoga, but struggle to get the Apple TV going because I never commit the dreaded remote-control routine to memory. I pack breakfast and lunch to take to the office but race through work at such a frantic pace that I forget to stop for breakfast at all. I did manage to eat my lunches more mindfully this week, even when I was splurging and eating a big plate of eggs and grits with friends in the office dining room on Friday. Laughing with them and being away from my desk was as nourishing as the delicious food, a reminder that what feeds us is not necessarily confined to our plate. In fact, most often it has nothing to do with what’s on our plate!

This past week I definitely feel like I had a few take-aways:

  • Spend more time prepping things so taking a walk, doing yoga, sitting down to meditation, packing lunch does not become an ordeal.
  • Get to bed earlier so I’m not tempted to hit the snooze button when I should be getting up to pray or exercise or sit in silence.
  • Continue with my new routine of listening to some select books on CD as I drive to and from work. It’s definitely making a difference and giving me an extra dose of daily peace along with a good kick in the spiritual pants.
  • Accept that my life is simply going to be chaotic much of the time. With three busy kids, a very busy job, lots of chores around the house, the reality is that my daily life is often going to be noisy and not-so-mindful, and that’s okay. The goal is not to make my life silent so I can be mindful but to make myself mindful so I can maneuver my way through the daily minefield. It’s all in my perspective. The journal writing, spiritual reading, and silent time is helping me remember that.

Now we begin week two, Chapter 2 of Cravings: Dieting Delusion: Food Is Not the Enemy. As we move through this chapter, stop to think about the diets you’ve tried over the course of your lifetime. I’m sitting here shaking my head as I write this just thinking about some of the crazy plans I’ve tried over the years. In the end, none of them really worked. Why? Because those were just temporary patches, surface changes not meant to last, and everything hinged on the almighty scale. Sometimes it still does. Which is why I’m here, and maybe why you’re here.

From Chapter 2:

Even today, the control myth can take hold of me. I can feel totally confident and positive about myself and my life if my clothes fit a little bit loose and the scale shows me the right number. A few pounds in the wrong direction an my mood, my day, my life can take on the aura of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, not only with my looks but with just about everything. And that’s the crux of what we’re dealing with here. Whether we have to lose a hundred pounds or ten pounds, our self-worth should not — cannot — hang on a number or a diet plan. It has to be rooted in something deeper, something true, if we can ever hope to put a stop to these endless efforts to mold ourselves into someone else’s image of beauty or health or perfection. The first step toward that freedom is the acknowledgment, in the words of Alcoholics Anonymous, that only “a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

This week, as you keep your journal and take note of your moods and foods, start paying more attention to your beliefs about yourself. What is the tape that plays on endless loop in your head? Does your self-worth teeter from one extreme to another based on superficial changes or events? What are your triggers? Can you push pause when you feel things starting to head in the wrong direction?  Try to pull yourself back from the brink. Breathe, say a quick prayer, grab your journal, go for a walk, do something to shift the playing field and try a different approach. After all, the old ways haven’t been working, right?

If you have a minute, check in and let me know how you’re doing here in the comment section. If you have questions, feel free to ask them. If you don’t have Cravings and you need more information, tell me that as well. And if you just have a story to share, please do so.

Oh, and before I go, I have to announce the winners of the book giveaway! Two people were randomly selected from those who filled out and submitted the online form for official membership in the Cravings Tribe. Each will receive a copy of my book Everyday Divine: A Catholic Guide to Active Spirituality.  I will contact you directly by email to get a mailing address. And the winners are….drumroll, please…

Amy S. of Lafayette, La., and Kathleen A. of Lakewood, Pa. Congratulations!

And, now, here’s your musical inspiration for the week. I wanna see you be BRAVE!

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ninette #

    My shifts imperceptible but shifts nevertheless. Spent more quiet time in the early morning and actually walked during lunchtime. Struggling with the sweets that still blanket the office. Can’t seem to pass them up….that being said, I more aware.

    January 9, 2017
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      I hear ya with the sweets! Same struggle here. But I’m also making more space and trying to be more aware. I feel a slight shift.

      January 9, 2017
  2. Karen #

    This first week hasn’t been perfect but I haven’t beat myself up about it. I think about food before I put it into my mouth. I’m becoming more mindful about eating and found that when I am I enjoy my food more and I don’t eat as much because I realize I’m satisfied sooner. Spiritually I’m doing better – not perfect but I’m setting aside time for God at either the beginning or end of my day. I also realized that the reason my previous diet didn’t help me keep off the weight was that I only worked on the exterior of my body and didn’t realize the interior connection. I never saw myself as a thin person even when I was – the image in my head didn’t match what I was seeing. Seeing this connection is a huge change for me.

    January 9, 2017
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      Thank you so much for sharing. I was nodding my head as I read your comment.

      January 9, 2017
  3. Kay Robinson #

    Dear Mary – please count me in. I bought your book Everyday Divine in 2015 and it has now become a tradition for me to read it every year at the start of the new year. It has brought me so much joy and depth in my spiritual life and I thank you for it. I was just about to write to you when I came across your latest venture and I would love to travel this path together way you and others. I live in South Africa so it will be from a physical distance but I feel connected in spirit. I look forward to the journey! Much love, Kay

    January 10, 2017
  4. Linda #

    This past week has been extra busy for me so I was a little behind in my reading. Early this morning, I was answering the questions at the end of Chapter 1 and writing in my journal. I was answering question 6 on page 16 about sharing the journey with a friend. I was writing that I had the Cravings “Tribe”. Just as I was writing, I noticed the Bible verse that was written on the journal page, “A friend loves at all times”. Prov 17:17. Just thought that was quite timely!

    January 10, 2017
  5. Lee #

    Some of your phrases are really helping me. Like last week’s suggestion to “drop down into your heart center” — I’m using that as my additional spiritual practice. I’ve heard it in yoga classes, of course, but using it several times throughout the day (I use a timer for walk-breaks from my desk) has been, for me, rewarding.

    Also your insight here: “The goal is not to make my life silent so I can be mindful but to make myself mindful so I can maneuver my way through the daily minefield.” AMEN to that! Spoke to me as a working mom of two who also has a hobby and friends and a marriage to keep up. Praying for guidance on how to stay mindful amid the daily chaos.

    I read Ch 2 last night, and it caused me to unpack a few beliefs about myself that I have never realized were so internalized. But wow, are they ever. (“I’m not one of the popular people, not pretty enough for the lead role in the play,” etc.) I have a lot more prayer and thinking to do about those but I’m hoping to start to come to grips with them.

    January 10, 2017
  6. Mary Lou #

    Digging into Chapter 2 and I’m feeling quite emotional. My journey has been a lonely one because most people would not see me as someone who struggles with over-eating and over-exercising. I’ve felt ashamed for too long that a 2 pound increase on the scale could set the tone for a “bad” day. And have always felt alone in these thoughts.

    Onto the progress! I have been food journaling & recording any thoughts or feelings as I approach each meal. Also writing myself notes of encouragement in my journal. Have not stepped on the scale this week. This is a big one for me but I am trying to prove a point to myself. I’ve been praying to God to help all of us on this journey of discovery and mindfulness.

    Feeling hopeful and determined! And grateful for this book and this tribe.

    January 10, 2017
  7. stacey oleary #

    Have been going to gym at five in am starting to get a cold. I really feel like obstacles just keep coming up. My food has been ok succumbed to chocolate chip cookies the other night.ugh!! I’m trying to be more thankful for what God has given me.

    January 16, 2017

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