If you made a list of all the strategies you’ve tried to solve your body problem last week, I left you with a cliffhanger. You evaluated all of the strategies you have already tried, so now that you’ve considered them, I have some questions for you.
- How old were you when your problem with weight, shape, food, or body image came into your life?
- How old are you now?
- How many years have passed since this problem entered your life?
- And since the problem entered into your life, has the problem gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?
So what does that mean?
- You have worked hard, for many years, trying to solve your problem with weight, shape, body image, and food by every logical means.
- You have put in a good-faith effort. You have tried unbelievably hard.
- Nevertheless, despite all your efforts, here you sit, years later, with a bigger problem than you had when you started, or at least a problem that is no smaller or easier to solve.
Is that the case for you? How does that feel?
Does it feel hopeless?
Or are you reading this blog with one last hope? Maybe this stranger on the Internet really has it, the solution, that once-and-for-all magic that will fix this problem in a way none of your previous efforts ever have. One more try. Maybe this time will be the charm.
Well. I have some terrible news for you. I don’t have the solution. You’ve done everything I can think of, and probably many things I could never think of, to solve your problem with weight, shape, food, and body image, and yet the problem is still here, big as life and twice as distressing. I don’t have any magic wand to control something that you, with all your best efforts, have been unable to control.
All I can offer you are some images:
When you go into a casino, go up to a slot machine, and insert a coin, what do you hope will happen?
If you take a roll of coins to this slot machine and play, it is likely that you will win: a little bit, here and there, just enough that you may feel tempted to keep playing. Not only that, if you look around, you will see evidence – flashing lights and clinking coins — that some people win big.
But what happens if you keep playing, roll after roll of quarters, for days, weeks, months on end?
You lose money. And the longer and harder and more faithfully you play, the more you lose, even though — as gambling addicts can tell you — from time to time you may be ahead, you may be winning. Why is this? Why is it that gambling addicts always lose money — entire fortunes! — despite dedicated effort, over many years, in a place expressly designed to address their hopes to win big?
The reason is very simple: Because the game is rigged.
Could it be that the same is true for your game? Your dieting, weight loss, self-hatred game?
Look back over your list and see if this is true: Did your problem ultimately get worse every time you tried to make it better? (Don’t be like the gambler, who brags about the small wins without admitting to the much bigger losses – look at the net change for you over time.)
If the problem got worse every time you tried to make it better, is it possible that the solutions may be part of the problem?