We Do Not Promote Dieting
We began our careers putting people on diets, as we were taught to do. It did not take long to realize that there was no magic in food restriction. In fact, it became painfully obvious that dieting is fraught with failure, heartache, and deprivation. Simply put, we learned that diets cause problems, including:
- intense preoccupation with food
- powerful food cravings
- deprivation-driven eating
- compulsive eating
- eating disorders
Research is very clear that restricting food intake does not work 95% of the time and that over 1/3 of restrictors will actually gain extra weight. Diets cause weight gain. (Are you larger today than when you first dieted?) Most people blame themselves for the weight regain, and for the extra pounds.
Professionals even blame the dieters! Even though research proves without a doubt that diets do not work!
We believe that promoting dieting is unethical.
Why Let Go Of Dieting?
If you are entertaining the thought of letting go of dieting, then you already know the answer to this question. But because society refuses to validate your experience, it is easy to slip back into old thinking. So let's go over some of the reasons it's important to let go of dieting.
Research is clear that 95% of all diets fail, but you already know this. Sadly, you probably blame yourself. But that blame is in the wrong place. Think about it.
Dieting, counting calories or points, excluding certain foods or food groups and putting limits on when one can and cannot eat are external mechanisms which try to control the body’s weight, size and/or shape.
However, our bodies are inherently wise. Our bodies know when they need energy (calories) and when they've had enough.
We Are Born With The Ability To Regulate Food Intake
Our bodies know how to regulate food intake. We were all born with this innate ability. Infants and toddlers know when they are hungry and when they are satisfied, and respond accordingly.
Have you ever fed an infant? She will cry when hungry to let you know she needs to eat. When she has had enough, she will begin to play with the food, or push it away. Even if it is chocolate cake! She is able to eat exactly how much she needs to successfully manage her weight.
She will always have this ability--unless someone interferes with it. For instance, as we go through life there are many external influences that tell us when, how much and what to eat, including:
- someone telling us we need to eat less
- someone telling us to eat more
- someone telling us to eat differently
- being forced into the Clean Plate Club
- our own attempt to change food because we feel ashamed of our bodies
- a professional who tells us we will die if we don't lose weight
Over time, we lose trust in our ability to regulate food intake and come to rely on these outside external cues. We eat based on portions, calories, healthy eating principles, etc.
Relying On An Outside Authority
With so many diets and information from books, the media, magazines, friends and family, it is easy to be convinced that we need follow a plan or formula to be healthy and to successfully manage our weight.
We try to follow these external authorities, yet they are not able to account for changes in metabolism, sleep patterns, hormonal fluctuations, stress and activity levels. It is unreasonable to think that our bodies need the same amount of energy every day. Each day we move, stress and sleep different amounts, so it makes sense that our energy needs will be constantly changing.
These external authorities also cannot address our changing psychology--our needs, personalities, lifestyles, etc.
No external plan can predict what we need each day. However, if we re-learn to trust ourselves, we will realize that we do not need them. We each have a body that accurately tells us how much and when we need to eat, a body that does not want to overeat!
Your Perfect Guide to A Healthy Weight explains this in detail. ***** add link
The nondiet / intuitive eating approach will guide you back to this eating wisdom, so that you can easily manage food and weight.
"Nondiet" Not A “Free For All”
Incorporating a nondiet approach to eating does not mean your eating becomes a “free for all.” Far from that. By paying attention to what our bodies need, we learn what foods to eat and when to eat them.
A nondiet approach also does not mean we ignore nutrition. As we become better aware of internal cues, we will also become better at determining what we need to eat.
For example, if you routinely eat meals or snacks that are high in carbohydrate and low in protein, you may find your energy drops and you become tired. As an intuitive eater, you will notice this without judgement, and be better able to easily alter your eating so that you feel your best. Likewise, you will also notice perhaps, that some days you lose energy later on, and realize you actually need more fuel (more food). Again, you can easily (and nonjudgmentally) have another snack and find you are more energized and can focus better.
The Challenge Is To Listen
Our bodies have an inner wisdom, and know how much fuel they need. Our challenge is to be able to hear what our body is telling us. As we practice intuitive eating, we will become better listeners to our bodies, achieve better energy levels, become more comfortable with our selves as well as body and achieve our natural, healthy weight.