If you’re a woman who has struggled for years with being overweight, feeling afraid of eating real food, caught in a cycle of binging and dieting, then you may have to consider that you are a part of the majority of those for whom dieting does not work.
Recently it has been revealed and admitted by the medical community that diets just don’t work for 90-98% of all people. In the April 2007 issue of The American Psychologist, the Journal of the American Psychological Association, UCLA researchers reported that diets don’t work in the long run.
According to the latest results of a composite study done at UCLA, Traci Mann, Associate Professor of Psychology at UCLA and lead author of the study said, “We found that the majority of people regained the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.”
The thing is you probably already know deep down in your heart that this may be true for you. However, most likely you have no idea what to expect if you stop dieting and more importantly how to make it work for you so that you can once and for all overcome your emotional eating and eventually lose all your excess weight as you eat real food.
These fears of yours are very natural and understandable because the years of dieting that you’ve endured has conditioned you to think about yourself and your relationship to food in a very disempowering way.
You’ve been taught to rely on diets to solve your weight problem, and to believe that you are helpless over food, when the problem is not actually what you are eating, but what is eating you. The diets are actually a part of the problem because they have probably made you become obsessed about food and caused you to hate your body.
Here’s a checklist to see if you are weight and food obsessed. Go through the list and see how many of these items are true for you. Then mark a “T” for true and “F” for false. Then tally up your “T” responses.
1. You start each morning by getting on the scale.
2. You think about food all the time
3. You take your mirror too seriously.
4. You tend to be an all or nothing person
5. You judge yourself harshly. You think of food as good or bad and when you eat the bad foods, you criticize yourself for being weak.
6. You feel guilty and shameful when you overeat
7. You think your inability to lose weight is all your fault.
8. The success of your day depends upon what number the scale says.
9. You skip meals in an attempt to reduce calories or fat.
10. You avoid parties and other social gatherings because you hate your body.
11. You avoid speaking up and letting your feelings be known because you are afraid of people judging you and saying that you’re fat.
12. You don’t want people to see you eat.
13. When you are out at a social gathering, you’ll order what you think you should and then go home and eat more food to satisfy the feelings of emptiness.
14. You’ll avoid sex or being intimate because you don’t feel attractive.
15. You refuse to buy clothes in a size that really fits you
16. When you’re stressed, all you can think to do is eat
17. You have a closet full of clothes that you can’t fit into
If you have 5 or more “T” responses, then you are unfortunately overly concerned with your weight and probably an emotional eater. If you have less than 5, you may still be dieting and it could be working for you. If that’s the case, then don’t change anything unless you feel that you are ready to get off the diet roller coaster.
Whatever your results, take heart, it’s never too late to begin again. You can overcome weight and body obsession and learn how easy it is to trust your body by taking the first step to decide to stop dieting. However if you are an emotional eater, it’s important to balance your decision to embrace non dieting and to integrate that with learning some solid stress relief techniques to handle the emotional tug that you get when you recognize that you’re not really hungry.
The next thing that you need to learn how to do is to be gentle with yourself and change the way that you think about yourself and food. The way to do this is to learn new ways of coping with stress and to take action to increase the juicy factor in your life, which just means to have more fun and do what you love more often.
By learning to handle your emotions and knowing the difference between when you are really hungry and not, and setting aside time for you, that is the key to making non diet weight loss work for you.