How Dieting Can Help You To Regain Control of Your Eating
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Annie Newbury BSc (Hons) Psychology, MBACP
24th April, 2012
I guess that we all know people who have lost weight with a particular diet club or method only to have all the weight slowly creep back on again. “I don’t understand it” they say,” I lost so much but it all comes piling back, why don’t my diets work?” Sounds familiar?
Most diets are based on strict rules, they have ‘points’ ‘bars’ ‘shakes’ and ‘sins’. Food is restricted, choices are few, rules must be followed and calorific intake is usually very low so if the diet is followed it’s not surprising that weight is lost.
And do you know what? Diets are based on restriction and deprivation; they deprive you of any satisfying amounts of ‘fattening’ foods; if you’re really lucky you might be allowed a tiny, tiny amount of cake, or chocolate – occasionally! As a result dieters feel deprived, they long for a big dish of ice-cream with chocolate sauce and a scattering of marshmallows!
Once the target weight is achieved most people will think that they deserve a reward, and rightly so, but it’s all too easy to have a couple of extra squares of chocolate, a large portion of chips, a big cheesy pizza – and why not? After all “I’m not on a diet any more, surely I can eat normally again?”
And so it starts – the backlash against the deprivation and soon the weight creeps back on because the dieter has resumed their old, unhealthy relationship with food.
So, if that’s the problem, what’s to be done and how can counselling help?
The key to successful weight loss is to change your relationship with food, stop looking at it as ‘the enemy’ and start to live comfortably with it again. Develop an understanding of what is a healthy, balanced diet, the right portion size for you and a willingness to forget ‘points’ and ‘sins’ etc etc and to look at food as, well, as food!
Counselling can be a huge part of successful weight loss, combined with nutritional advice and information it can help you to look directly at why you have been eating your way towards obesity, what has caused you to seek comfort in food and why food sometimes feels like the friend you need to get you through life – after all, it’s not called ‘comfort eating’ for nothing!
If you turn to food when the going gets tough or are unable to understand what makes you choose the high fat, high sugar option from the menu then counselling can help you to put food back into perspective and to find alternative ways to deal with the underlying problems and stresses that are causing the trouble.
Counselling can help to put you back in control, help you to stop thinking about food all the time and to find a way forward that doesn’t rely on food.
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