Fad Diets? No, Thanks – I’d Rather Savor My Ice Cream!
Last month I read an article in the LA Times, “A Brief Timeline Shows How We’re Gluttons For Diets” (February 28, 2015.) It outlined a history of dieting, starting in 1825 with a low-carb regimen by Jean Brillat-Savarin. The timeline brought back memories of the grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet, Zen macrobiotic diet, Atkins, Beverly Hills, Zone, Sugar Busters, South Beach, all the way up to Paleo.
Yes, I admit I tried a few diets when I was young and foolish and didn’t know better. When I was on the high school tennis team, I found a weight chart that rocked my happy world. It said if you are 5′ tall “you should weigh 100# and you are allowed 5# for every inch thereafter.” Even though I was very physically active, I was horrified to discover that at 5′ I was “overweight” at 16# past the limit. So I plunged into the Atkins diet and a series of other goofy diets. My mother was upset, telling me “You don’t need to lose any weight – you are muscular!” She was right, of course, and this was a perfect example of how “ideal weight charts” have interfered with the health and happiness of many people. That path of dieting assured me of two things: I would never gain another inch in height and my weight would continue to go up despite calorie restriction. Yes, that’s what happens when teenagers diet – it affects their growth and metabolism.
It took me years to realize the biggest flaw of diets is they make people think about food ALL DAY LONG. When you are “dieting” you have to plan food. If you are on the point system, you have to plan your food points for every meal. If you are using a food exchange system, your focus is planning those exchanges. And when you think about food all day… it’s pretty tempting to do what? Eat. And when you go off the diet, what do you do? REALLY eat.
This is why today I advocate for a non-diet approach called Intuitive Eating that teaches the skills of honoring hunger, fullness and enjoying food. It helps you unlearn emotional eating and learn to respect your body by challenging fad diets, the Food Police and the voices in your head that tell you you’re bad if you eat a little cookie.
After almost 30 years as a dietitian, I have found this is the concept that sticks with people who don’t want to go on one more diet. It works because there is no plan, no diet, no rules – just a return to the eating style we were born with. It took me a few years to discover this personally and make peace with food (and my body) but when it did, it was liberating. Do you want to be set free from the chains of food rules, BMI charts that dictate what you “should” weigh, and poor body image from years of chronic dieting? Intuitive Eating will put an end to all those fad diets so you can start living life to the fullest, which includes enjoying real ice cream when you want it.
I’m starting virtual Intuitive Eating classes on March 24th, with morning and evening sessions available. Class size is limited to 8 spots per class so please sign up today! I am also able to conduct this class workshop style if you want me to bring this class to your location – just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote. Isn’t it time to be set free from dieting?