If a doctor prescribed to you a treatment that had a 5% chance of success, would you take it? What if the same treatment had several serious side-effects such as depression, anemia, or developing a life-threatening eating disorder?
Did you know that 95% of people who diet will gain back even more weight within 5 years, and develop a disordered relationship with food? Dieting is the largest predictor of future weight gain. These statistics are not scare-tactics. It is research, plain and simple. (You can review the research sources at: http://www.intuitiveeating.org/content/resources.)
Burned out dieters know that diets don’t work. However, our society values a thin ideal. Dieters are seen as virtuous to the public at large.
I was one of those dieters.
I lost 60 pounds over a 2-year period of time. Life was good. I had done an excellent job of exercising excessively and restricting myself to what I deemed healthy food. However, after a few years I was unable to keep myself from eating unhealthy food. I tried everything to keep my weight gain at bay. Jenny Craig, Seattle Sutton, Weight Watchers, you name it. I experimented with diet pills, personal trainers, boot camp, food diaries, going to the dietician, and more.
I hated myself for gaining weight. I hated that I couldn’t follow a diet. What was wrong with me?
Soon unhealthy behaviors followed: over-exercising twice day, self-hatred, chewing & spitting out food without eating it. Eventually I came a cross some literature that showed me I wasn’t the only one struggling with this problem. And I soon learned that I wasn’t the problem at all, diets were.
Through reading books such as Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth & When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Carol Munter & Jane Hirschmann I realized that using external forces (diets) to lose weight was doing nothing but evil to my physical body & soul.
I hit the motherload, when I read Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch & Evelyn Tribole. These authors are both registered dieticians and nutrition therapists. This book was my Bible for eating, and for living.
Intuitive Eating is based upon the principle that we are all born with internal wisdom as to how to fuel our bodies. It showed me that food is not the enemy. Intuitive Eating says that all foods are acceptable, and that if we learn to tune in to our natural hunger & satisfaction signals, we could bring our weight to its natural set-point.
Do you think it is any coincidence that every time I get the flu, I get a huge craving for steak? My physical body (not my mind) craves steak because it is lacking iron! What about when women crave chocolate during their menstrual periods? Often times women are lacking magnesium during that time.
We are born with this internal wisdom. Think about how toddlers eat. They eat a few bites here, a few bites there. They stop when their bellies feel full or satisfied. (For more information on the Eating Competence model please look at the work of Ellyn Satter.)
Our bodies DO tell us what they need. However, we have learned to tune it out. To relearn this skill, it takes time, patience, & practice.
Stay tune as my story continues to unfold.