Are you really ready to break up with food?

By Renetta Weaver | Mar 22, 2021



I have to be honest and tell you that as an Emotional Eater, I knew I wanted to permanently lose weight, but I wasn’t ready to permanently change my relationship with food. When my surgeon told me about the Bariatric surgery options and gave me his expert Medical recommendation for which one would give me the best outcome, according to my weight-loss goals, I ultimately made the choice to do it my way. Sadly, my decision was based on fear. I was afraid that if I went with his recommendation, I would have to give up my favorite food and I was not willing to do that. My thought was that food has always been my friend and that my weight has always been my enemy. Therefore, I was going to do everything that I could to protect my relationship with food. Now that I am further in my weight-loss journey I can say that I am very happy with the choice that I made but I have learned that I cannot do the same thing and expect different results. 

One of the things to consider when you are thinking about having weight-loss surgery is how your relationship with food will change. Unlike the temporary changes that come along with dieting, the changes in how you eat will be permanent, starting with the preparation stage and after having Bariatric Surgery. Seeing those side-by-side pictures of people smiling about their weight loss does not capture the real challenges that people have about how they consume food. So how do you know where you are as far as being ready to break up with food?

What is the Readiness Ruler?

The Readiness Ruler is one of the tools that I like to use in my therapeutic practice as a weight-loss counselor and coach. I like it because it empowers the client to measure their current motivation to change behavior. The client can learn a lot about how important their weight loss is to them, their willingness to make lifestyle changes, their level of commitment to make these changes, and their confidence around making these changes. 

As a component of Motivational Interviewing, The Readiness Ruler is an evidenced-based assessment. It asks clients to use a scale of 0 (no motivation)-10 (high motivation) to measure where they are. This information is the foundation of change and is a catalyst to having a conversation with our clients. The talk, for example, will explore “What made you choose a 3 instead of a 0 and what needs to happen to move that 3 to a 4?” The overall goal is to possibly raise motivation or solidify their motivation if it’s already high. 

I encourage you to incorporate Motivational Interviewing and the Readiness Ruler as one of the tools to educate and assist your clients with knowing if they are ready to break up with food. I have created a Triple-A approach to working with my client’s and I would like to share it with you. 

 “Awareness, Answers then Action.”

  1. Awareness-explore what your truth is around your relationship with food and your motivation to lose weight.
  2. Answers-based on your truth, decide what choices will support your weight management/weight loss goals.
  3. Action-based on your truth, knowledge about the behaviors that support your goals, start moving forward.

As a member of “Clinicians of Color”, I encourage you to research all of the skilled BIPOC therapists who are ready to support you with your weight loss journey.

When I began to practice self-love and acceptance on the inside, it started showing up on the outside. That is what led me to create a space where I could teach other emotional eaters to do the same. If you were able to relate to something I said perhaps you will benefit from joining a community dedicated to emotional and physical weight loss. Please join the Facebook group “Regain No More.”


About The Author


Dr. Renetta Weaver is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in MD, DC, and VA and a Board-Certified Bariatric Counselor specializing in obesity, food addiction, and emotional eating due to Big T and Little t trauma.

I am grateful to connect with people who have tried and failed at weight loss and are looking for an answer. If that is you, let’s stay connected and let us fight this battle together.


Renetta Weaver

Leave a Comment