How many diets have you started and lost some weight quickly and then put it back on, or the diet is so restrictive that you blow it soon after starting.
Diets that fail to deliver have you end up blaming yourself for failing and becoming more preoccupied with food. Food becomes either good or bad with guilt attached. You eat to tend and feed emotions. You say no to invitations because of your size and how you see yourself, your sense of self-worth plummets.
You give yourself permission to eat because you are sad, or tired. You have a belief that having left overs is somehow a sin. You often say to yourself that you have blown the diet anyway so I might as well eat the lot.
There is a new approach emerging around the world to how we can better approach the issue of weight and health. The approach embraces the idea that it is more important to have healthy behaviours than it is to be a specific weight or BMI (body mass index).
Most importantly it recognises that diets don’t work in the long run. Our body has an innate wisdom ensures that they don’t work.
Studies are now showing that the old adage that as long as you limit what you eat and exercise more, then you will lose weight is too simplistic. Your body will only allow weight loss in the short term. As your body does not know the difference between a diet and famine, it will, in its own wisdom, compensate to regulate itself to regain fat, to ensure survival. Your body will work to undermine your best efforts to lose weight.
“When science tells us our body’s basic instinct to store fat is stronger than our sexual instinct, you appreciate that dieting is a much more complex process that it might seem”. Louise Foxcroft, Sunday Star Times 26 February 2012
You didn’t fail, the diet did.
Counselling can help you refocus your attention away from the diets that don’t work and concentrate on:
· Creating healthy behaviours which will support nourishing your body, heart and soul
· Understanding why you want to lose weight and working towards achieving those aims (which are never really achieved by just being thin)
· Living and eating intuitively
· Trusting your body and its wisdom by tuning into the signals your body sends you about how much, what and when to eat. Your body has within it systems to keep you healthy and at a healthy weight – you just need to listen
· Building self-acceptance and compassion for yourself
· Learning how to recognise your emotions, mediate them and take action, instead of using food to calm them (thus loosing access to addressing what you are really experiencing). By giving all your energy to food and losing weight you are not dealing with the underlying issues
· Move towards eating being a pleasurable nourishing experience again
· Finding ways to get you off the couch, to move your body towards fitness with fun activities rather than exercise for weight loss (which is never fun)
If you are saying to yourself, but I am fat and I need to lose weight and coming to counselling under this approach meaning forgetting about how much I weight, you are only partly correct. The approach is not about being an idealised weight, a weight which is often set in your mind “if only I was 60 kilos then I would be truly happy”. The approach is about being healthy, and more specifically being the healthy weight for your body. That may indeed be a weight less than you currently are.
If you would like to ditch the idea of diets forever and step into your own wisdom, make an appointment to see me, Bronwyn Alleyne by phoning 021 127 7738 or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. My counselling rooms are in Greenlane, Auckland, skype appointments are also available if necessary. For further details you can also log onto www.yourpath.co.nz.
I have also listed below some books which you might like to read which expand on the science and this approach.
Bacon, L PhD, 2008. Health at every Size. The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. Benbella Books Inc. Dallas Texas.
Kausman, Dr R, 1998. If not dieting, then what? Allen and Unwin, Sydney Australia.