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Diet obsession: How to break free

Colleen E. Crane MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker based in Bozeman, Montana. Colleen is currently in private practice and specializes in working with adolescent girls and women.

Get off the dieting rollercoaster

Ahhh -- summer weather is here. Which means dieting time, right? No! Stop the madness and get back to living. Here are three steps you can take today to stop yourself from riding the dieting rollercoaster.

Unhappy woman dieting

Just stop!

The first thing to do is to stop your crazy thoughts about dieting. It’s not about dieting; it's about making healthier life choices. I'm sure you've heard this a million times, but if you made smart food choices year-round, there would be no need for a diet! When your thoughts turn negative, say out loud to yourself “Stop!”  Negative thought patterns don’t help us succeed, they only destroy us.

5 Benefits of positive thinking >>

Journal your thoughts

Take time to journal your thoughts and feelings about why you feel you need to be on a diet right now, or why you feel you need to lose weight. Growing up I remember reading magazines at this time of year encouraging me to get on a diet now, so I could have the perfect body for summer! I guess my question is: Why do I need a perfect body just for summer -- can’t that feeling be year-round? When you journal, take time to reflect on whether there are patterns related to what you eat and your emotions. If you do identify a pattern, observe and see if you can make healthier food choices or distract yourself with a fun activity instead of eating.

Accept yourself for who you are right now

I have a friend who will not cut her hair until she loses those last five pounds. I have asked her many times why she can’t just accept herself for who she is right now? She can't answer me; however, I wonder how much more time she would have in her life if she weren't so obsessed with losing those last five pounds. I also wonder the weight would just come off naturally if she weren't so obsessed. She claims she tried that, and all she did was gain weight. I wish she could see how absolutely wonderful she is as a person, and that as her friend, it pains me to see her beat herself up about her weight. If your life and self-worth is revolving around those last five or ten pounds, work on accepting yourself for who you are right now! Sometimes when we make emotional changes in our lives, our food choices make changes too.

make a note

Obsession with food and weight is a hard thing to kick in our society; we are inundated with commercials and products that encourage us to lose weight to find happiness. Just remember -- happiness isn’t all about how much you weigh, but what is in your heart and in your life. When you get control of your life, the rest will follow.

More health tips

Summer slimdown: 7 simple tips to lose weight
27 Sneaky ways to burn off 500 calories
SpeedX workout: Take your fitness to the next level

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