Doing Life Together

appetite-1239056_1280Dieting– a word that begins with DIE!

This can’t be good and in truth, it isn’t. Recently, I saw a headline about experts not recommending dieting. Well, for those of us who were on the front line working with patients and weight loss for years, and suffered through every popular diet imaginable, it’s about time we came to this conclusion. Forget dieting and change the way you think about and relate to food. That was the subject of my book, Press Pause Before You Eat back in 2009.

Dieting involves deprivation–a concept that sets us up to want more. If I can’t have it, I want it. And what I resist, will persist! Whether you call yourself weight neutral, anti-diet, or some other term that opposes dieting, you fundamentally believe that pushing back at the dieting culture is a good thing. Dieting doesn’t work to sustain weight loss. Instead, we should focus on how we think, feel and behave when it comes to our interactions with food.

Change your thoughts: Much of our eating is triggered by negative thoughts like, “I’m a failure, not good enough, not thin enough…” “I can’t _____, I won’t ______ and/or I shouldn’t ______.” Fill in the blank with those pesky negative thoughts that lead to defeat and giving up. The battle is in the mind! We don’t measure up on so many dimensions of life! Changing your thoughts will go far in helping you eat for the right reasons (enjoyment, community, nourishment, etc.) and not condemn yourself for going off a dieting plan.

Change your emotions: So many of us eat for emotional reasons–we are sad, happy, bored, depressed, stressed, etc. Realizing that food is used to medicate those emotions is the first step in making a change. Managing emotions without using food is key. You have to stay present and work through your emotions, not eat to medicate them.

Change your behavior. Whatever the cue or trigger is to eat, do something else. When you learn to substitute another behavior instead of eating, you are conquering a big problem. Bored? Take a walk. Stressed? Work out in the gym? Sad? Call a friend. Lonely? Watch a funny movie. Don’t eat in response to problems or difficult life situations.

So rather than diet, build a proper relationship with food and eating. Focus on health, fitness, and mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Change your lifestyle and stop battling food. As we say in Lose it For Life–Get off the scale and on with your life!

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