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Our relationship with food is one of the most emotionally charged, satisfying yet guilt-ridden of our relationships.From the time our mother rewards us with a biscuit for being good, to the first time we invite someone for that proverbial 'cup of coffee' after a date or comfort eat after a break-up, food really is a metaphor for all that we feel and, many times, all that we can't quite say.As soon as we start one we begin to buy clothes in a smaller size or make travel plans, all to fit the future with a new svelte body.We do this because we can't wait to see the person the diet is going to allow us to become.Mothers tell their children: 'As you've been so good today, you can have a biscuit or a sweet.' So food becomes tied in with our reward system, and unhealthy beliefs about eating are established.
Words concerned with loss, defeat, denial and deprivation become the pillars of our vocabulary. From childhood we teach ourselves or others to bargain with food.
By pinning aspirations on a certain weight then, inevitably, if you fail to reach that weight you will feel that it's impossible to reach your aspirations, too.
If, on the other hand, you see losing weight for what it is - an attempt to become healthier - then any failure to achieve weight loss will not be tied into your self-esteem as strongly, allowing you to feel OK about yourself and eventually want to try again.
Our belief system is then adapted so that we think we're being good when we starve ourselves, but to reward ourselves we eat!
This schizophrenic relationship with food means that we never see food for the simple thing that it is, so the common wisdom of 'just eat less' is practically impossible until we understand what motivates us to eat.
The truth is that quick-fix diets rarely work and when they do they are so drastic that it's hard to adhere to them for long.