Monday, August 27, 2012

Dieting causes obesity?

There are things that, in any field, because you are in it, you know it well. And then you think everyone else knows what you know, so of course they will follow it. But, then, in my case, my partner reminds me not everyone thinks the way we do about all this food, weight and exercise stuff. Which is kind of disappointing, you know.

So, what we in this field know well is DIETING DOESN'T WORK! Oh, don't you worry, it has been researched to death. And that research resoundingly supports the understanding that 95-98% of diets will fail. Will you lose weight initially? Sure, some will, and they might even keep the weight off for a bit. But what the dieting industry leaves out of their marketing material is that 95-98% of people will regain the weight, and a good number of those will actually add 10% to their previous weight. Which, as you can imagine, reinforces starting another diet where they again regain the weight plus 10%. Surely you can see where this is going, right? People  diet and actually gain weight! I was first introduced to this concept in my training in about 2002, and it shocked me. I thought, "You mean, in reality, dieting is a major cause of obesity?" Now, am I going to take the time to back up that claim here with research? No, I'm not. (I'm kinda lazy.) I throw it out as more of a discussion piece. But it certainly interesting how weights in the US have increased IN SPITE OF the proliferation of diets. Hmmmmm.

What got me on this kick today was yet another high school acquaintance posting on Facebook how they are going to do something to lose weight. And, really, I don't know if it is the next fad diet, or perhaps worse, weight loss surgery. But each time this happens, I really want to contact these people who I have not spoken to in, uhhh, 19 years, and provide all the information we in this field know that goes counter to the diet industry. I mean, the diet industry has billions of dollars. The eating disorder field? Ahhh, not much. So, we will never be able to counteract the number of messages put out there by the dieting industry. And, that is frustrating.

But, if I did think it was advisable to contact each of the high school classmates, I would encourage them to work with a therapist to see if any ED behaviors underlie their weight problems. And to see a dietitian who can help them with Intuitive Eating, rather than just another diet. And tackling weight loss surgery is for another day, but these two recommendations (as long as the person sees actual eating disorder treatment experts) would address most concerns about weight loss surgery as well.

But, alas, most people don't want to hear diets don't work. Until they have done enough of them that they cannot stand it for one more moment, and then many will open their minds to Intuitive Eating. And the dieting cycle and finally end.

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