How this maxim applies to dieting… "If you aren't willing to have it, you will"

In a previous post, I wrote about “If you aren’t willing to have anxiety, you will have it”. What this saying means is that the things people do to try to avoid experiencing anxiety-provoking thoughts or situations typically ends up creating a life riddled with anxiety. For example, because attempting to block out difficult thoughts leads to greater problems with those thoughts.

How Does This Apply to Dieting?

Just like people want to be free of anxiety, people want to be free of concern about food and weight.

This results in people looking for a SINGLE, permanent solution that will allow them to never worry about their weight again.

The cruel irony is that searching for a single, permanent solution so that you can avoid having to think about your weight and what you are eating is likely to keep you trapped in whatever patterns and suffering you’re currently trapped in.

Attempting to avoid having to think what you are eating and your weight is likely to lead to a lifetime of food and weight obsession and suffering.

Everyone has a personal relationship with food. When studies have looked at people who have successfully maintained weight loss for long periods, they have found that people use a wide variety of strategies.

You’ll need to find the COMBINATION of strategies that works for you.

And, be prepared to think about what you are eating and your weight.

(If the idea of thinking about what you are eating and your weight still seems like a “life sentence” re-read this post. Being prepared to think flexibly about what you are eating and your weight is the way to spend less of your life thinking about it overall).


The most obvious example of this maxim is people with anorexia. That is, they take the most extreme measures to avoid feeling fat, but spend more time feeling concerned/distressed about food and weight than anyone else. When you use avoidant coping, you usually end up creating more of what you are trying to avoid.