There is an Alternative to Dieting.
Essentially, It is: Stop Dieting. Stop trying to lose weight. Start understanding that dieting is NOT a solution in that it’s very unlikely to make you thin for longer than 2-5 years at the very most - and actually, it’s much more likely you’ll end up heavier than where you started. .. and begin relying on your Internal Wisdom.
There’s plenty of Marketing for this Alternative, and a hefty hourly fee… will get you help in the form of individual online contact, from one of a multitude of “dubiously licensed online counselors” who charge about the same hourly rates as the professional Therapists and Psychologists who are licensed through State, Federal, or National medically-recognized agencies.
Will this Alternative result in getting you Thin or to a “Normal” BMI weight?
Perhaps…. If your body is already in the “normal” or “overweight” range and has always been there. However, if your body has ever been well inside the “Obesity” BMI weight range for more than one or two years, it is Extremely unlikely.
For almost everyone, what happens is that a “successful” implementation of this alternative process will result in your body weight returning to, and settling at, its highest individual Set Point. For more information on that future probability read these articles:
Set Point, and Running Down the Up Escalator.
Here's the Bottom line.
Below is an article in support of the Alternative to Dieting.
Why You Think About Food Day and Night & What to Do About It.
by Vania Phitidis of Peaceful Eating. co.uk
"Do you think about food first thing in the morning and last thing at night (and about a million times in between)?
Do you wake up worrying if you’ll be able to control your intake, go to bed at night evaluating your day and judging yourself based on how you managed your eating – and then making promises about how you’ll eat tomorrow?
Do you perpetually feel guilty for eating?
The one reason you’re crazy around food is because you want your body to look different than it does.
That’s it. Simple.
And… you have bought into these beliefs:
Almost every woman I’ve worked with has realized that if she’d never gone on her first diet (to try to change her body size) she would never have developed a dysfunctional relationship with food. Ever thought to yourself you wish you were the size you were before you started dieting?
Why you want to change your body in the first place.
The primary reason you want to change your body is because you fear not being accepted.
Acceptance/ belonging is a primary driver for human behavior. Without acceptance, we are outcasts. Alone. Unable to find a mate to procreate, or a community to help us when we need it; to provide comfort, solace, connection and play.
Bottom line: we are social creatures and we need acceptance to survive.
Everyone I’ve ever worked with received this message at some point in her life. It appeared in different voices and with variations in language (verbal and non-verbal):
If you’re fat/big, you’re unacceptable (which translates into unlovable).
In westernized culture – and indeed increasingly in others, there is a rare body shape that is particularly coveted. A small percentage of people naturally have this body shape – which is slender, slim hipped (though the latest requirement is with some curves, but only in the ‘right’ places) and long limbed. It’s rare because these people don’t have ‘thrifty genes’ which store fat easily. In past millennia, few of them would have survived.
People want what’s rare. We desire what is scarce. Marketing strategies feed on this! If you can achieve, accomplish or acquire what is scarce, your status increases and hence your acceptability. Think of Ferraris.
Insert this into the very real, growing culture of weight stigma and its associated interwoven social issues: Fatphobia, Thin Privilege and Diet Culture.
And let’s not forget the role of our economic system: capitalism works on selling stuff! The way to sell stuff that doesn’t meet our basic requirements, is to create a perceived need by preying on our basic human need for acceptance and belonging. The global market for weight loss was estimated to reach $586.3 billion in 2014!
Doesn’t the dieting industry employ a brilliant business model? Look at all the repeat customers who think they are the failures (because they can’t get or stay thin), rather than the product! Imagine buying any other product, say a kettle that didn’t work… would you keep going back to buy it again and again?
It comes to this.
Because you have wanted to change your shape to gain a greater sense of belonging, you’ve engaged in trying to manipulate your weight. And you’ve done that through restricting.
The trouble is that if your body is put through unsubtle and sustained caloric deficit, you will crave food. The longer this goes on, the more your brain will fixate on food and eating – which makes complete sense – because if our brains didn’t do this, our species wouldn’t survive.
The truth is – you can’t control your biology.
Any ‘successful’ attempt at weight loss has undoubtedly failed eventually, or you wouldn’t be here reading this. Our survival instinct is very strong – and our bodies work incredibly hard to maintain homeostasis – also known as your set point. Our bodies have a range they like to stay within – based on our genetic make up (though influenced by our history of dieting). Dieting slows your metabolism, making your body become more efficient at storing anything you ingest. It also raises cortisol (stress) levels which slows digestion, and signals the body to store fat.
But it’s not only the physical deprivation that creates this fixation.
It’s also the perceived deprivation which is created by the thoughts you have about food and eating that may not have anything at all to do with what you’re actually consuming.
Any judgments you have about food and eating, any demands you make about how you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, and any guilt or shame you feel associated with your eating or your body, will create a deprivation mindset – even if you’re not physically restricting those foods!
If you’re familiar with the story of Adam and Eve, you’ll know about the ‘forbidden fruit.’ Eve was not going hungry: she wasn’t physically deprived of food, but couldn’t resist the apple simply because it was forbidden. She fell from grace – and took Adam along with her.
The way out of this madness.
It’s simple, though that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Stop trying to change your body. Leave. It. Alone.
The truth is that trying to manipulate your weight has failed in the past and will fail in the future. This is true for 95% of people who do it. If you were boarding an airplane and were told there was a 95% chance it would crash, would you embark? One of the most consistent predictors for weight gain is ever having dieted!
Stop physically restricting calories or types of food.
If you keep doing this, you will stay fixated on food, and you will have urges to binge.
Drop all judgments about food.
That means nothing is good or bad (including you).
Drop all rules about food.
Give yourself permission to eat any food, without guilt, preferably when you’re hungry.
Drop all your judgments about bodies.
This means all bodies are good bodies, whatever their shape and size. All bodies are valuable and worthy and deserving of respect and care.
Disengage from diet talk and extreme fitness & exercise regimes.
Stop following the diet gurus! Throw out your scale and every dieting book or magazine you own. Move your body in ways that make you feel good. Disengage from diet talk at the office, with your friends and in your home.
Remove the words ‘should’ and ‘have to’ from the way you speak about your eating or exercise (and anything else!).
So you want to lose weight for health reasons?
Unfortunately there is a lot of myth in the public realm about the connection between health and weight.
I saw a funny though sad cartoon the other day of a big-bodied man at the doctor’s with a stake through his chest. The man shouts ‘Doctor! I’ve been impaled!’ The doctor looks non-nonchalantly over at him and says ‘Well, maybe you’ll feel better if you lose some weight.’
There is undoubtedly weight stigma within the medical profession – and that’s truly awful for people in large bodies.
That said – here’s what I know:
If you have health problems and you’ve been told you should lose weight to solve them, please educate yourself about weight and health.
But will I lose weight?
I have no idea. You might, and you might not. It depends on your genetic make up, how long you’ve been dieting, how committed you are to not restricting – and a bunch of unknowns about bio-chemistry and the mind-body connection. I know people who have. I know people who have not.
But what I can promise you is you’ll feel free and relaxed around food, your sanity will be restored and your quality of life improved – not just around food! You will stop waiting for a number to be reached before you start to live your life and do the things you want to do.
Plus – you will become an advocate for the solution, instead of contributing to truly terrifying statistics – like the fact that 81% of American 10 year olds fear becoming fat, and 71% of 7 year olds are dieting. You will become an advocate for people of all shapes and sizes to be treated with equal respect.
Each time you engage in trying to alter your body, and judging any body (as good or bad), you’re contributing to these growing social problems. I’m not saying this to guilt trip you. I’m saying it because it’s true. Otherwise it’s like saying ‘I stand for the abolition of slavery!!!! But I want to keep mine…’
Although it’s simple – it isn’t easy. Accepting ourselves, and belonging to ourselves first and foremost is not easy to do in a culture that is obsessed with the thin ideal, in an economy that cynically undermines our unquestionable enoughness for profit. It’s hard to do when every which way you turn there’s a new diet, a friend who’s lost weight (and getting approval from others because of it), advertising that bombards us with messages that our health and happiness are tied to a number on the scale, or a doctor telling you everything will be better if you drop a few pounds.
It’s impossible to do without knowledge, a radical paradigm shift, support and community. Even with these you’re swimming against the stream."
The article above is an Excellent depiction of support for the Alternative-to-Dieting choice.
Whether our Choice is Dieting or the Alternative-to-Dieting, everyone wants our money. Not only do numerous Marketing interests .... (which includes the medical profession) .... want to sell us "Help" to get our bodies Thin, they want to sell us "Help" to emotionally adjust to staying Fat.
The author of the article above, Vania Phitidas, is one of the multitude of online “Life Counselors” specializing in “Intuitive Eating”, and “Body Acceptance”. She Blogs at "Peaceful Eating".
She appears to be a normal-weight female in her mid 40s, a former bulimic, with no personal history of obesity.
Like most of the current "online life counselors", she has no actual credentials or licensing except for the fact that she is registered somewhere as an “Intuitive Eating Counselor”, a “Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training teacher”, and “Self-Esteem teacher”, who is involved in a “More to Life” program.
A resident of the United Kingdom, she appears to be college educated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters in Education for Sustainability. Apparently she charges about $120 per session, which appears to be the usual rate for the majority of similar "life counselors".
Each of has has the freedom to choose any form of "HARD" that seems personally right for us as individuals, and I see ALL of the choices available as equally valid ones.
My own personal choice has been to choose to Embrace Dieting and make it into a Hobby that is enjoyable much of the time. However, part of that very Dieting Hobby is to become aware and to consider Alternatives to Dieting. It is not a one-size-fits-all world, and what is the right choice for ME, may be the wrong choice for YOU. Also, what is the right choice for TODAY, may not be the right choice for TOMORROW. Those who want to know more about me, and my dieting and weight history can read the article ABOUT ME here at DietHobby.
Mar 01, 2021 DietHobby: A Digital Scrapbook. 2000+ Blogs and 500+ Videos in DietHobby reflect my personal experience in weight-loss and maintenance. One-size-doesn't-fit-all, and I address many ways-of-eating whenever they become interesting or applicable to me.
Jun 01, 2020 DietHobby is my Personal Blog Website. DietHobby sells nothing; posts no advertisements; accepts no contributions. It does not recommend or endorse any specific diets, ways-of-eating, lifestyles, supplements, foods, products, activities, or memberships.
May 01, 2017 DietHobby is Mobile-Friendly. Technical changes! It is now easier to view DietHobby on iPhones and other mobile devices.