When I thought about this topic I envisioned going into detail about what it is like to diet for 12 weeks and to describe what you were going through week by week alongside the diet. I will do something like that eventually but that’s not what this developed into. Instead, I realized I was more interested in how we are affected by the act of dieting hard core for any length of time while laying out a 12 week program for you. If you have never done one before, this will give you an idea of what one looks like. If you have done one, this is a great refresher on the fundamentals. Mixing both emotions with form and function is hard so please bear with me as we enter into this series together. The emotion is not one-to-one with what’s going on in the diet because they overlap as the diet moves forward whereas the diet, itself, is a linear progression.
Before delving into the topic head on, it is imperative to discuss the use of the word “diet”. Any time we set out on a journey to achieve something in regards to our body, whether it is to lose weight, lose body fat or change our appearance in any way through the consumption of food, I refer to that as dieting. I use the word as a verb: “I diet clients” or “we diet down toward a goal”. I find that that terminology can really mess some folks up because we associate that word as a state of being that we are always in because we are typically depriving ourselves of something somewhere. I call that living life and do not want you to confuse the two.
Dieting is personal. Every aspect of it is an invasion into your personal space that exposes your private weaknesses, insecurities, deepest desires and biggest fears. When we first embark on the diet all we care about is the outcome. We are no more interested in how it may affect our mental health or any hidden pitfalls than we are in the current presidential debates. We want to be down X amount of pounds or that much tighter at the end of the journey and we don’t think too much more about the process even though we are about to open ourselves up to endless scrutiny. Once we start our program, our friends watch us, our co-workers watch us, our spouses watch us and we even watch us. (There are those times, though, when we hope no one is watching such as when we dig the peanut butter jar out of the trash because we just have to have one more tablespoon since we threw it away for the same reason. Did I just put that in print?) Public examination is to be expected but it takes on a whole new meaning when we set out to make dramatic changes in how we look.
Weight Watchers, The Zone, South Beach and so on are what I call “general public” diets. And here, they are a noun. They make you smaller but they do not necessarily change the way you look. I know at some point we have all dieted the standard way, made goal and then thought, “I look the exact same as I did before I started only I am just a little bit smaller.” For lots of “general public” folk that’s a great outcome, for us, though—not so much. As a result, we entered into the world of clean eating not knowing what to expect or whether it would really change the way we look but we knew it was worth the shot. Well, it not only changed the way we look, it drew more attention to ourselves than if we walked naked down the street covered only by a fig leaf and a ferret. Moreover, we began drawing women to us like flies to fly paper armed with more questions than those annoying questionnaires you get at first time doctor visits.
If you were seeking to draw a lot of attention to yourself, guess what—it worked. But for most of us, that’s not what we wanted. Somehow we wanted to look really good in a ‘don’t look at me’ sort of way. What we initially wanted was to just feel good in our clothes by having tight abs and a bum that could support our jeans. We were a little tired of moving the pooch out of the way to button our pants or finding our bums still touching the chair when we stood up. We also wanted a goal worth shooting for. Something that said we did more than just the average dieter as well as prove to ourselves that we could put our minds to something and stick with it. We weren’t asking for the world and we certainly didn’t sign up to be instant celebrities at our workplace although that is what we became. So what didn’t we take into consideration when we first started this journey? Adoration, pressure, competition, unwarranted comments and fear.
As the diet unfolds, so will the emotional drama. I hope you will stay connected for the next few days as we set out what a 12 week diet entails and discuss the emotional impact of all of our changes. I’ll brush you up on the guidelines if you are rusty and firmly establish them if you are new.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you all. If you have any thoughts already or are looking for me to cover something in particular, let me know. Either leave me a comment below or hit me up via email at Jodi@trans4mationstation.com. Cool? Woop woop!