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.