Dieting and Why we think it has to Hurt

Why we believe dieting has to Hurt

Diet Pain

Going on a diet hurts.

It’s painful to even have the thought. Hunger pains, blood sugar dips, the feeling of irritability are all a part of it. We expect it to be this way.


Every message we get from any source whether it be a mentor, expert, movie, story or publication of any kind has words in them like hard work, sacrifice, grit, pain, deprivation and pain. And there is nothing wrong with any of those things in their respective contexts but the underlying meta-message is:

You need to suffer

In order to get what you want or even worse deserve, you have to feel horrible, for a long long time, then you will be good, and good enough to get good things … maybe.

Sound familiar Protestants (and your influence on our culture?) Seriously, I’m just asking as I don’t know.

So we look in the mirror, decide we’re going to go on a diet, turn on Anthony Robbins to get motivated, roll up our sleeves with determination, harden our souls and become a Spartan soldier … until we gasp for air, binge on cookies and chocolates left over from last Christmas, curse our diet and tell ourselves that it wasn’t THE ONE.

Then we repeat the cycle after a time and do it over and over.


The problem was never the diet, it was the concept.

Always thinking that if we could just find that diet that works for us, we’d be on easy street. So like the fly who keeps banging his head against the window and hoping for a different outcome, we did the same by unconsciously accepting the calorie counting method (which means we have to eat like birds) and buckled down for the pain.

After a time you give up and become bitter and skeptical about diets and the industry as a whole which is an appropriate response by the way. What you needed was a diet therapist to help you look into your unconscious, and ask you which diet program you were running.

Diet Doctor

He’d then tell you that your program is outdated and that what you needed was an upgrade. Specifically that you’d need to keep your carbs, low, intermittent fast, adopt a Keto diet or some combination thereof.

You would go back into your past and make conscious all of the different messages you received about dieting and have you challenge them with your more up-to-date self.

He would also educate you on how your psychology works, telling you that we move away from pain and towards pleasure and so you need to make your diet enjoyable, so that you can endure it. That willpower is good for the short term only and as you’ve read, diets need to be taken on for longer periods to be effective.


It will be disorienting at first. Trying a diet that is the opposite of what you’ve been told for so many years, that fat is bad and carbs are necessary.

You’ll lose the weight, keep it off and find that these newer types of diets still are satisfying even though you can’t eat bread and pasta anymore.

The shift in your mind, in terms of how you see what dieting and weight loss are, will still take time even though the proof is on the scale, every month.

Finally, it might always feel weird, to not have to suffer to lose weight. Your therapist would say to accept your wounded, inner diet child, and then charge you $200 on your way out.

Free Emotional Eating Guide

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