Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 Reasons for NOT Going on a Diet in 2010!

Ah, time to once again consider New Year's Resolutions! Each year one of the most frequently made resolutions is to; go on a diet to lose weight. Think of how many times you have made that resolution only to become disillusioned and frustrated. If you have overeaten during the holidays (who hasn't?) or dropped your exercise program and gained weight, going on a diet is not the solution!

Because the diet industry (remember the multi billion dollar a year industry with a miserable success record?) knows that you may be thinking about dieting more intensely at this time of the year, there will be a media blitz promoting diets and diet products. Don't be swayed by their shiny print ads and flashy TV commercials promising quick weight loss accompanied by exciting changes in everything from your job to your sex life. Resolve to not go on a diet this year!

Here are my top 10 reasons for encouraging you to not go on a diet in 2010:

  1. You have experienced the mind numbing obsession with food and eating that follows outlawing certain foods.

  2. Evaluating your self worth according to whether the numbers on the hunk of metal we call a scale go up or down is an emotionally draining experience.

  3. When you have driven your weight down by following diet rules and constraints that are unrealistic in real life, the weight will be regained.

  4. Fixating on weight loss can distract you from more important life matters like family, friends, school, job, and spiritual pursuits.

  5. The people around you get tired of hearing the dreary details of what is allowed or not allowed on your diet, how many "points" cheese cake is worth, or how "bad" you were at the restaurant last night.

  6. Dieting can be a boring, monotonous and tedious effort that leads to binge eating.

  7. Food is not the enemy and therefore should not be the focus of any "war on obesity".

  8. Sharing meals is part of socializing. Dieting can be isolating.

  9. You have taste buds for a reason.

  10. Diets don't work!

This year make resolutions that will enhance your emotional and physical life. Make resolutions that are challenging, yet reasonable. Here are some examples to consider:

  • Increase the fiber in your diet.

  • Add more veggies to your meals.

  • Try new foods and recipes to add variety to your dietary intake.

  • Eat breakfast each morning.

  • Find a physical activity that you enjoy and can do regularly,

  • Enjoy your food more. Taste and savor you meals.

  • Decrease dependency on eating out.

  • Love the body you have!

  • If your body needs to lose weight, allow the weight loss to happen as a result of gradual, healthful changes you are making in relationship to eating and activity.

Be patient with yourself. Progress not perfection. No guilt!

What are your reasons for not dieting in 2010? Please share!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rules for Weight Loss?

There are rules in life that are worth obeying. Stopping at a stop sign is a rule that might save your life. Living your life according to the "Golden Rule" of treating others in the fashion you would like to be treated is an admiral and worthwhile goal. Rules for weight loss? Now, that is another story all together!
I think we all have a love/hate relationship with rules. Sometimes rules give us a sense of security, a temporary feeling of calm control. That is until we decide to rebel! We all have a bit of a rebellious nature when it comes to our relationship with food and eating. I see this in my clients on a regular basis. Often when a new client comes in for an initial assessment it is precisely because they are sick of trying to follow rules about food, eating and exercise. They have discovered these rules to be unrealistic and burdensome. Recently a new client was giddy with relief at the end of our first session. She had engaged in The Last Supper ritual the night before her appointment. Thinking that there would be foods I would tell her to never eat again, she stuffed herself with every last one of those forbidden pleasures! At that next session the relief she had experienced about not having to outlaw certain foods had been replaced with fear. Without the diet rules she had been leaning on as a crutch, she was frightened that she would not be able to control herself around food. She was convinced that she would gain weight exponentially with out a specific set of dietary do's and don'ts. As she has has learned more about the challenges in her life that are roadblocks to healthier nutrition, she has become confident in her ability to navigate those barriers. For example, we identified one of her high risk time for non-hunger eating as after dinner, late at night. She mistakenly thought that just implementing a "rule" that she could not eat after a certain time would eradicate that enemy. You guessed it! Once she took one bite after dinner she went into the "I have blown it" mindset that led to more non-hunger eating. She thought she was a failure. Actually, it was the rule that failed her!
So, the next time you are tempted to place yourself under a rule about your food and eating ... just say no! You will be glad you did!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Crash" Dieting

The last blog begged the question "why do we diet"? I hope that even if you did not post a comment that you are reading and thinking. If you have seen the movie "Julie & Julia", you know I can relate to Julie wondering who might be reading her blog!

Since that post, I read a disturbing article about a 30 something young woman who decided that she must lose weight for her upcoming wedding. She went on a crash diet (a term not used much anymore) and began exercising excessively. She lost weight rapidly ... and then lost her life. Such as sad ending to a life that was just beginning.

I believe that we don't use the term crash diets because it is so 70s, so yesterday. Modern media has normalized wacky diet tricks that once might have been labeled as dangerous or extreme. We have become desensitized. The "diet doctors" are loosely cloaking the crash diets they prescribe as medically supervised. Translation: Crash diets supplemented by a variety of stimulants, appetite suppressants and blood pressure/weight monitoring. Oh yeah, throw in a multiple vitamin or B-12 shot. Many of my clients have contemplated or embarked on such diets when there is an upcoming event such as a wedding, reunion or even a cruise. These are situations that trigger insecurities about our bodies and ourselves. Somehow we imagine that losing weight quickly will calm this anxiety. One of my clients struggling with an eating disorder recently mentioned an upcoming high school reunion. In the same breath she exclaimed "I have got to lose weight!" As we continued our discussion she realized that her default mechanism when faced with a daunting situation is to focus on losing weight. Daunting situations abound. Thus, we have a multi-billion a year diet industry that is fueled by insecurities.

Crash dieting is once again in vogue. Don't be fooled by glitzy ads and false promises. If you are insecure about a situation or event, deal with those insecurities directly. Don't hide under the veil of a diet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Why We Diet

Have you ever asked yourself why people go on diets? Have you ever asked yourself why you have dieted? I went on my first diet at 13 yo. I was a bit overweight, Twiggy was all the rage (you youngsters will have to Google her name), and I was interested in a gorgeous boy. My girlfriend, Linda, was his girlfriend. She was slender and blond. My mom would not let me dye my hair blond. I felt the only way I could compete with Linda was to lose weight. I started my mission "Win Boyfriend" with great fervor. I lost weight rapidly and this first diet actually was my last. It led to a life and death battle with anorexia nervosa. (It you want to read that story you can find it @ By the way, I did not win the boyfriend. Come to find out he didn't appreciate my new obsessive-compulsive, anxious and depressed personality that dieting had initiated. Go figure!

Diets and diet products promise that losing weight by using their products and plans will bring to fruition your greatest dreams, fulfill your deepest desires. When we fail at following ridiculous rules about food, eating, exercise, etc. we blame ourselves!

We also diet because our culture promotes dieting, dieting behaviors, and the pursuit of artificially thin bodies as the norm. One of my clients brought in an article from Allure Magazine recently revealing the "secrets to thinness" from fashion insiders. It was absurd. The article sounded like it was ripped from the pages of a "How to Develop an Eating Disorder" manual. She told me she had seen similar suggestions on pro-eating disorder sites.

Diets also promise quick answers to serious problems; like poor self-esteem, spiritual emptiness, and depression. It is so much easier to focus on losing weight, controling food, and executing exercise regimes than to confront other troublesome issues in our lives.

As you ditch dieting, you can really begin the life-long pursuit of true health and wellness in all areas of your life. Remember - this is a process that requires patience. No guilt allowed because, this is the really good news, there are no rules!!

Please share your thoughts!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Making Peace with Exercise

Do you hate to exercise? Do you obsess about exercise? Do you feel guilty about exercising too much ... or too little? In order to ditch dieting and disordered eating you must make peace with exercise. The first step is to view exercise as "activity". Something your body needs just like food, water and air. It is not about burning calories or completing some eating disorder ordained command. If we all made our living by working in the fields all day, this discussion would not be necessary. Here are some suggestions to help you continue the process of making peace with exercise:
  • Find something fun to do each day that involves non-stop movement. Walking is just fine.
  • Don't set rules about how long you need to be active. Just move.
  • If you use exercise machines ... cover up the "calories burned" info.
  • Participate in a group activity of some sort. Maybe a dance class.
  • Think of this movement as a way to nurture your body.
  • Consider activity as an investment into your current and future health.
  • Do not focus on activity/exercise as merely a weight management tool.

If you find getting your activity in is becoming burdensome or is in any fashion detracting from your quality of life (like isolating you from friends/family, making you late for work, etc.) you need to step back and reassess your priorities in life. You can thoughtful and deliberate about giving your body activity without being obsessive.

How have you made peace with exercise?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Scale "god"

I noticed in the July14, 2009 issue of Tennessean newspaper that the "Shopping Diva" highlighted a super accurate scale that "may make the weekly weigh-in easier"!? The diet industry has lead us to be live that those 3 magic numbers on that hunk of metal is wherein lies our self-worth. The scale is "a" barometer of health, but certainly not a great one. That is it. Nothing more. Many of my clients have bowed down to "the scale god" everyday, multiple times per day in order to determine everything from whether they will go out with friends, to whether they are worthy of consuming the next meal. These are perfectly intelligent, successful, kind and lovely human beings allowing on this inanimate object to rule their lives. If weighing oneself could irradiate obesity, I am quite sure we would not be the fattest nation on earth.
Challene the diet mentality that keeps you in bondage. You are more than a number. Pursue a healthy (not perfect) relatonship with food, eating and activity. You won't need a number to tell you when you have arrived at the "middle ground". I think you will love the location!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"I've Been Bad"

How many times have you heard someone say "I was so bad last night" when talking about what they ate for dinner? Where does that come from? Food is not a legal or moral issue, yet the diet industry has told us otherwise! Worse yet, we have believed that lie. It is time to challenge that diet attitude that often leads to being trapped in the "all or nothing" cycle of dietary restriction, binge or compulsive eating and then restricting food again. Challenge yourself to remove the words "good" and "bad" from your vocabulary when speaking about food. You will find it harder than you might imagine. But, oh so freeing!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Welcome to The Middle Ground!

Go to any bookstore and look over the sections dedicated too books about diets and weight loss. Your head will spin. These books are filled with gimmicks, tricks, ridiculous rules and some outright lies. The truth of the matter is that over 90% of people who lose weight by dieting (following dietary restrictions that are not real life) gain the weight back. Ditching dieting will lead to peace of mind, a more balanced relationship with food, eating and weight and better physical health. This is a process. There is no quick fix or magic potions.
Stay tuned to learn more. Visit my web site at for additional articles and helpful links