I've written before about how we need to be honest with ourselves about our true priorities.
It's fine to want to lose weight, but you have to decide whether losing weight is more or less important to you than health, trusting yourself around food, honoring your own hunger and fullness, eating foods your like, or feeling sane.
I mentioned something briefly that I want to emphasize today:
Even if you think you're telling the truth about your priorities, there's a good chance you're still lying to yourself.
I may not be Sherlock Holmes, but I am a pretty much a Victorian-era detective when it comes to telling if people are lying to themselves about food-and-body-related issues.
Here's my secret clue: If your actions don't match your supposed "prioritization," you're probably lying to yourself.
In other words: If you "say" that you really, really want to lose weight, but you are "falling off the wagon" of your diet three times a week, then being on a diet is probably not your true top priority.
Your deepest self might want to not be so freaking hungry all the time.
Or to eat foods you enjoy.
Or to stop having to spend most of your waking moments planning your eating.
Or just to rest and enjoy life, and not feel like you need to change and do exhausting things all the time.
Only you can know can truly want. But your behavior is a darn good clue.
Of course, we are all complex people with many different, often-conflicting needs.
Maybe we do want to lose weight, so we try to "block out" the voices inside of us that are whining and complaining and begging to eat oreos.
But when we privilege one part of ourselves, and ignore the other parts of ourselves for months, years, or even decades, we become disjointed and stuck. One part of us gets its say all the freaking time, and the other parts of us start to get bitter and resentful and more and more determined to try to get our attention somehow. Any way it can.
Cue you eating 6-month-old sun chips standing in the kitchen where no one can see you.
Telling yourself the truth might mean softening into the fact that all of your desires need to have a say and a seat at the table.
When "I want to lose weight" talks to "I want to eat a quesadilla" and "I am freaking tired of being hungry all the time" and "I'm so busy and this brownie is the only good thing that happened to me this week"...only then can a consensus be reached.
Telling yourself the truth also might mean acknowledging that while you truly do want to lose weight, all of your other needs (like your needs for ice cream and and a break from the obsessing) need to have their say for a while because it's been a long time since they had the microphone for more than a couple of furtive moments.
Your behavior - the fact that you have never been able to stick to a diet for more than 24 hours - might have been telling you this already. It's time that your mind caught up, and stopped pretending that "losing weight" was your top priority, when it isn't, truly.
Here's one way to start: sit down sometime today with a journal and ask yourself, "what do I really, truly want?" Write down everything, a big, long, messy often-conflicting list. And then read over the list slowly, noting how to feels as you look at each ideas. Do you feel tight and nervous? Or spacious and relaxed? There is often a tightness we feel when we think about things that we think we "should" do, but don't really, truly want.
How have you lied to yourself, now or over the years? This can apply not only to eating, but also to relationships, career, home life, and more.
I'd love to know in the comments, and I know that everyone reading would feel supported by hearing from you.
Katie spent years "planning" her eating and being frustrated with herself when she ruined her plans by eating too much. She eventually discovered how to trust herself around food -- read more about her story here, or get her free ebook.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.