On a couple of my client calls this week the topic of all the emotions that we experience as we begin to see diet culture for what it is, quit dieting, and become Intuitive Eaters came up and this is something that I realized does not get discussed enough!
You see, as I’ve mentioned before, quitting dieting and becoming an Intuitive Eater is a process. Through this process, you have a variety of emotions and feelings that come up! I spent some time contemplating this and after reflecting on my own journey, my clients’ journeys, and everything that I have learned along the way, I came up with six main stages that I believe most of us go through as we quit dieting. Keep in mind that you may bounce back and forth through some of these stages and of course everyone’s journey is slightly varied, but everyone seems to experience these feelings as they quit dieting & become intuitive eaters.
Stage 1 – Frustrated. This is the point where you hit your “dieting rock bottom” and you just feel so DONE with diets altogether.
Stage 2 – Angry. In this stage, the frustration turns to anger as you learn more about diet culture. You may feel angry at the whole diet industry as well as society as a whole that has made you feel as though you need to lose weight and diet to be worthy. You may even feel angry at your past self for subjecting yourself to the terrible diets that you’ve done in the past.
Stage 3 – Fearful. This is the stage where it sinks in that you have decided to never diet again and you may feel a bit scared of what’s to come. Thoughts about how you may just never stop gaining weight if you don’t diet again and feeling afraid of not knowing how to even eat can arise here. This is the point where a lot of people may turn back to dieting because it’s comfortable and they may feel that they need a bit of a structure in their eating. You could also be dealing with some weight gain by this point which can bring on feelings of fear and anxiety.
Stage 4 – Sad. This is the stage where you are grieving the thin body that you used to have and/or were striving for. You’re also grieving the thrill that diets brought you. Remember when you’d start a new diet and how seeing that number go down on the scale felt? You’ve realized that you won’t have that excitement again and this is the point where you are grieving all of those things as you realize this is not what you are going to be working towards anymore. You may also feel sad if some of your friendships and relationships have been affected by your quitting dieting. Allow the sad feelings to come up, feel them, let them flow through you. You are healing.
Stage 5 – Hopeful. This is where you begin to feel hope for the future. You have processed a lot of the pain that diet culture has inflicted upon you and you know that this diet-free life is the best one for you.
Stage 6 – Content. This is the stage after you’ve gone through all the other stages and you just feel a sense of peace with your body and food. You are happy to have left dieting behind you and are embracing your new diet-free life.
Which stage are you at? Maybe you’re shifting between a couple of stages right now… I’d love to hear it though so shoot me an email and let me know!