While preparing a talk called, Weight Loss That Lasts, I gave myself one minute to name as many diets as possible but stopped when I got to thirty in 30 seconds. If you’re confused about what food plan to follow, get in line. For any diet guru who declares theirs is the sure fire way to lose weight – and “proves” it with scientific references and twenty testimonials, there are just as many others that contradict it.
So what do you do? Certainly not diet because “diets don’t work”. You may have heard this flip little statement before and doubted it was true even though your experience of yo-yo dieting proved its validity. Here’s what you already know about dieting but have not allowed yourself to believe;
- Diets don’t work because they always end. Diets end because they are based on deprivation. Deprivation is unsustainable; like a pendulum that inevitably swings into a binge.
- Diets don’t heal the underlying emotional issues that make you tear into a bag of cookies or a tub of hummus.
- Willpower fades because it’s an imposition of your determination to lose weight over a natural desire to eat and to eat healthily.
Overeating is not really about food. It’s a solution to a problem; a clever habit that you unconsciously developed, often at an early age, hoping food would soothe you or protect you from being hurt, only to find that the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting hurts you as much if not more than the reasons you overeat.
What dieting teaches you is to ignore the very signals that help you know whether you’re really hungry or not. It fosters the belief that you don’t know what you want other than to lose weight. It doesn’t teach you to recognize and listen to your natural hunger so you know to stop eating when you’re full. Instead, dieting teaches you to mistrust your very own body, which makes you think that your body has betrayed you when in fact you have betrayed your body.
If you listen to your body’s natural and normal desires to eat you won’t be confused by the confusing and contradictory myriad of dieting choices. Instead, you will slowly learn to listen to your body’s natural and normal need for sustenance so that you lose weight and keep it off without depriving yourself or punishing yourself with food. Wouldn’t it be radical to replace the guilt of overeating and the preoccupation with the next best diet with the desire and delight to feed your body just the right amount of nourishing and delicious food? Imagine!