Have you heard the diet plan tag line, “Back to school means back to you”? The inference is that you’ve not really been yourself all summer, but with the end of vacation laxness and the beginning of a new school year, you can get back to the routine of dieting once again. But will dieting get you back to being the real you?
Think about this: If dieting works so well, wouldn’t people have long ago solved all their problems with overweight? Haven’t we all been dieting for decades? What’s so sad is that women tend to think the problem is with them, not with the whole culture of dieting.
First, you never have stopped being you! No matter how you look – or even if you have been trying to cope with your stresses by overeating – you are you. There’s not some different person waiting to be revealed if you just succeed on a diet. In fact, one of the reasons why women do not succeed at dieting is because they actually fear losing themselves and finding out that the slimmer self is not the person they really want to be. What if I start being a flirt? What if I am overly proud of my figure? What if I get unwanted attention (or, worse, attention I secretly do want)?
And will dieting actually result in long-term weight loss? Study after study says no. And those familiar with the Scripture know exactly why that is, especially for Christians. Legalism does not curb appetites and instead breeds excess. (See Rom. 7:7-8 and Col. 2:20-23.)
You don’t need the new school year to start in order to get back to the real you. The real you is who you are every day, the person you are because you were born of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17). The real you was created for freedom and is motivated by the grace and power of God (Tit. 2:11-12). The real you can learn to cope with stress in ways that involve intimacy with your Savior instead of intimacy with food.