If not Dieting, then what?

June 6, 2013 BY: LISA

Dr Rick Kausman proposed this very interesting question in his aptly titled book “If not dieting, then what?” (Allen &Unwin 1998).

It’s an excellent question and Dr Rick put forward some brilliant advice that shaped a lot of dietitian’s beliefs and helped many people. However, the diet juggernaut rolls on fuelled by the media and your past experiences and a lack of understanding as to how else to lose weight. What I have observed is people are stuck between two points:

1.  Dieting so feeling happy you are sticking to it but restricted and possibly hungry 

OR

2.  Off the diet so rebelling and feeling guilty

There seems to be no in between ground- it’s black or white – on the diet or not on a diet therefore unhappy with the direction you are taking and dissatisfied no matter what!

An interesting question: why did you start to diet in the first place if it never really leads where you are trying to get to? The answer is that you may never have known any other way. A number of people I have spoken to had been put on their first diet before they were 12 years old. Those that started to diet in adolescence where either mimicking  family members, reading magazine advice or simply doing the same thing as their friends.

Because you have always done something does that mean it’s right? The fact you learnt from your parent how to diet does that mean it’s the most effective way? Even as an adult it’s highly likely that you don’t really know another way.

You may talk about eating healthy now and not use the term dieting, however,even if this is your language it’s possibly still restrictive and doesn’t include your favourite foods- because they are not healthy, right? So even your attempts at healthy eating turn into a diet and don’t last long because it means that you can’t eat anything you like.

Then we start our next “healthy eating” phase perhaps with a “detox diet”which may shift some weight but puts you firmly back on the diet wagon and the all or none thinking.

What’s the alternative to this on again off again dieting? If you think about the diet cycle as black and white the alternative is actually in between- gray.

You’ve heard that there are 50 shades of gray and in the healthy eating sense it’s true- in fact there are as many shades of gray as there are individuals, as each person needs a slightly different plan to fit into their lifestyle.

This point between black and white means that most of the time you choose “healthy” foods and some of the time you don’t. It means that you have an exercise plan in place and it fits in with your busy lifestyle but you don’t have to stress if you miss a day.

It’s forgiving and takes into account that NO ONE is perfect and doesn’t need to be either.

To me it means freedom- you are free to make food decisions based on what you want to eat and where you want your health to go. You have a quiet head – there is no shoulding or musting because you are doing it.

Interested?

 Lisa APD

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