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If diets work, why can’t I lose weight for good?

You may have tried a dozen diets – maybe you lost weight for a time, but then the weight crept back on. Maybe you have succeeded in keeping the weight off, but your life is ruled by a military regimen of calorie controlled eating and intensive exercise, which will all fall apart if you get an injury, get sick, go on holiday or face a life crisis. Despite trying so hard for so long, are you left wondering (as you succumb to a chocolate muffin): “Why can’t I lose weight for good?”

Why is it that diets don’t work? Scientists have been trying to answer this question and are unable to explain why losing weight and keeping it off is so hard. They start with the premise that if you eat less kilojoules and start to exercise then weight loss will occur.

If you are overweight, the assumption is that you lack the willpower to follow a diet.

How many of us have felt a sense of failure when we ‘blow’ our weight loss plan?

Is it possible that if the underlying reasons for being overweight or overeating are not resolved, then the weight will return, because we simply return to the way we lived and the same patterns we have been in, in the past??

So, for example, if you use weight to create a protective layer, then the choice to eat is governed by the need to be protected and this urge overrides the food choices to simply give the body the nutrition it requires.

Instead, this urge to eat demands creamy, crunchy, sweet, salty, taste sensation foods that dull, stimulate and overload the body, sending it on a rollercoaster of chemical reactions that create highs and lows as we bloat along.

Instead of being driven by urges and cravings, it is possible to build a connection to the body that allows the constant communication it provides – about what nutrition is required or what food is harmful – to be honoured, instead of being overridden. This occurs, not from following a prescribed food chart, but from actually feeling how the body is responding to the food that is consumed ... or even thought about being consumed.

Regardless of food pyramids or daily recommendations, what food is needed, how much and when, is unique for each person and each individual body.

What is more, it is possible to build a connection to a part of ourselves that knows exactly what we need to eat and what we need to do to love and nurture ourselves.

If we stop making the focus the food that we eat and instead, the connection we have to ourselves, then the whole picture can change.

The question is no longer ... “If diets work then why can’t I lose weight?

but becomes ... “What is happening with my connection to myself, that I want to eat in a way that is excessive or harmful to my body?

Once we begin to ask this question, we stop making food the focus and start to focus on us instead and the connection we have to ourselves.

Reference:

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    Puhl, R.M., Heuer, C.A., Obesity Stigma: Important Considerations for Public Health, American Journal of Public Health, June 2010, Vol 100, No. 6, 1019-1028.

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ConnectionLosing weightBody awareness

  • Thumb small alison greig

    By Alison Greig, BA LLB(Hons), LLM(Hons, Grad Dip Psych, EPA Accredited Practitioner.

    Alison is a writer, life coach and a passionate advocate for true freedom of expression. Her legal and philosophical interests include regulation of cyber-abuse and cyber-crime, health care, freedom of religion and human rights.