On a physical level, I have stopped trying to diet. Like most people I tried for years and years to diet. The inevitable rebound was fueled by thoughts that I had better eat a lot before starting the diet because I will be depriving myself of certain foods forever after. Upon breaking the diet, my thoughts trended to I may as well eat what I want right now because I will go back on a diet soon. The result was constant overabundance and an obsession with food, to the extent that eating – in any amount – was no longer enjoyable. The first taste was the best. After that eating was not about taste or nutrition, but about fear.

Stop dieting. Start living.

I now know it to be fear of not being good enough, of not being acceptable to other people. Rather than acknowledge the fear, I rationalized arbitrary goals, “I need to lose 5 pounds in order to deserve a new outfit.” I would tell others I couldn’t afford the new outfit, but I had the money; I found the lie more convenient than owning up to myself and others that an irrational fear made me perpetually undeserving.

That fear delayed my entry into hypnotherapy. I assumed I would need to be skinny before I could help others, lest they judge me as harshly as I judged myself.

The transformation to new eating habits is ongoing. By learning to take responsibility for my choices, I now give myself permission to eat whatever I want. That includes giving myself permission to throw food away. I can take a bite, decide whether or not it gives me pleasure, and make an objective decision to stop or continue.

Joy has returned to eating, and a lot of energy has been freed since I think less about food. I do not worry about what I may eat; whether my food choices will be good or bad. Rather, all that energy goes into savoring food as I eat.

I spent years hiding behind eating, knowing it was a matter of simply making good choices, but the fear of having to get the weight off first caused me to delay making those choices. It is very freeing to walk into a restaurant with no thoughts of food restrictions, knowing I can have whatever I want, and with the confidence to consume the appropriate amounts.