Recovering From Diet Trauma
We used to put people on diets, as we were taught to do. It did not take long to realize that there was no magic in dieting. In fact, it became painfully obvious that dieting is fraught with failure, heartache, and deprivation.
Simply put, we learned that diets cause problems, including:
- intense preoccupation with food
- powerful food cravings
- deprivation-driven eating
- compulsive eating
- eating disorders
- weight regain
Dieters can't stop eating naturally. And diets do not work 95 to 98% of the time. Not only is it normal and natural to regain lost weight - but often those pounds come back with added reinforcements.
Are you larger today than when you first dieted? Most people blame themselves. Professionals even blame the dieters! Even though research proves without a doubt that diets do not work! We believe that promoting dieting is unethical.
Diets Cause Diet Trauma
Diets actually cause food to become extremely important to dieters. So important, that some people reach a point where all they think about is food, even when not on a diet.
They believe they are not dieting well enough and look for a different diet. No one is telling them how diets create this food focus.
Eventually, people who restrict their food intake become so accustomed to dieting as a way of life, they lose touch with their natural relationship with food. They find it difficult to be comfortable around food, except to diet, which perpetuates the cycle.
The Vicious Cycle of Diet Trauma
The dieter, now uncomfortable around food, finds they have a hard time not eating it, and they end up gaining weight. This occurs because of the diet but they blame themselves. The result is a vicious circle of weight cycling.
Dieters eventually feel guilt and shame about eating even a normal amount of food. All of this is Diet Trauma. And (over)eating is one of the few ways to get relief from this painful Diet Trauma. And that often leads to yet another miserable diet.
As dietitians, we saw this pattern with clients repeatedly - no matter how skilled we became at planning and directing diets. To save our sanity, and our clients' sanity, we had to do something different.
The answer is attuned eating/intuitive eating.