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Rejecting the Diet Mentality

By June 25, 2016June 27th, 2017General
By Molly Jones, Dietitian
Answer this question – have you ever done a diet that you wanted to follow for the rest of your life?
I can take a guess that the answer is no. You’ve probably never taken the time to actually think about this. But don’t you think it’s funny that when you fail on a diet, it’s your fault?
“You haven’t got willpower”.
“You’ve just got a slow metabolism”.
“You’re too busy to follow it”.
“That’s just how you are and nothing will change it”.
It’s always you. Never the diet!
And you give up on yourself. You feel as though nothing is ever going to work for you. You’re left feeling vulnerable.
But….never fear! Because in a world where we are faced with hundreds of diet and weight related messages per day, it’s only a matter of time before another well-marketed fad comes across our path!
Thank goodness. There is hope. There is an answer to our weight and health conundrums. The end.….
Just kidding. What would be the point of that? There is a dietitian writing this post after all.
The thing that causes so much hope (and confusion) with diets is that they do work. All diets do. In the short term. Whether it be lemon water, raw food, no carb, low carb, paleo, vegan, cabbage soup, Weight Watchers, 5 + 2 or [insert any diet here] – ALL DIETS will cause people to lose weight. At first. But after five years, all diets have the same result: people gain the weight back. Then they diet again.
Behold the diet cycle. If you’ve never been introduced to the diet cycle before, have a read through this list and see if it rings true to how you’ve been eating lately.

1. Be fed up with current weight or eating patterns or ‘want to be in control’ of food and diet

[Often falls on Monday / the start of a new month / New Years Day / when your realise that you’re totally unprepared for an event coming up]
2. Start diet

[Possibly one that you’re neighbour or boss is on / heard about on a tv show or magazine /walked past a book store and saw an attention-grabbing heading or poster / overheard someone speaking about it on public transport]

3. Following diet to a tee, probably either restricting some food group, eating at certain times, counting something.

[Start losing weight and feeling amazing]
[Also probably being more organised, more picky, and conscious about choices, cooking more, buying better groceries, eating more fruit and vegetables, eating less processed food, eating better quality foods]
4. Start feeling really restricted on current diet

[Might occur after an hour, day, week or month]
[You may make it through 1 or 2 social events where you turn down your favourite food because you’re being good’]
5. Loose momentum and motivation with current diet

[Doesn’t need an explanation]

6. Slip up / eat a little bit of *restricted* food

7. Feel like a failure

8. Binge on *Restricted* food

9. Binge on all other types of food

10. Feel horrendously guilty

[Cue self depreciation, emotional eating, stress, body hate, etc.]
11. Feel remorse and lack of control
Andddddd repeat!
Have you ever been in that scenario? My bet is, many of us have, at one point or another! It’s not about beating ourselves up. It’s not about feeling guilty. It’s about being aware of patterns. Because once we have awareness, we have a much better chance at making change.
As Fiona Sutherland of Body Positive Australia so wonderfully put it. “It’s well respected that letting go of strict rules is a necessary part of healing the relationship with food and body. It makes total sense, but is in fact a huge challenge. It can feel uneasy or shaky, scary, frightening. And it also makes sense to feel this way in the face of our current culture, which “normalises” the cutting out of foods, or food groups and applauds dietary control as being “committed” or “disciplined.”
That’s why you shouldn’t try and do it alone. Seeing a dietitian to get personalised help is the way to go. Because when you see a dietitian for weight loss, they’re not going to force you to follow a rigid program with rules and restrictions.
We personalise a realistic approach that is specific to you. Our aim is to get you off that diet cycle once and for all. The “results” might not be as immediate or dramatic as what you will see on a restrictive diet. But they will be more sustainable. We promise.
We won’t set you up to fail. As Isobel Foxen Duke so eloquently put it “you can’t fall off a wagon if there is no wagon to fall off”.
Liz Beavis

Author Liz Beavis

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