There is a question asked every year at the Jewish Passover seder, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" I think each of us who struggles with food issues and weight issues needs to ask, particularly as we draw to the end of the year, "Why is this New Year going to be the year I finally conquer my weight and eating issues?" You can't change entrenched patterns and yo-yo dieting and feeding disorders unless you analyze what hasn't worked, what isn't likely to work, and what then is going to be the new and different approach to finally treat your condition, for the long term.
So let's look at what typically doesn't work (for most people). That includes:
- Severe deprivation diets
- Diets that shun entire food groups
- Diets that require you to significantly restrict your lifestyle
- Trendy diets
- Diets that only address food and not lifestyle adjustments
Why don't these approaches work? Well a severe deprivation diet typically allows you to lose large amounts of weight quickly and at then, at some point, you rebel. Your suffering typically leads you to overeat your way back to your original weight, sometimes even passing that mark to a new all-time higher weight. Suffering does not typically achieve success in the long term. Diets that shun entire food groups also pose problems of temptation. If you cut out all grains, at some point you will hit a breaking point and typically binge on that food, which starts a cascade of eating and weight gain. Experts like myself do acknowledge that a very small subset of the population can indeed drop this "trigger food category" and simply never eat grain carbohydrates again, however, that group of successful carb shun fanatics are few and far between. Most of us need whole grains and even some grain "treats" in order to enjoy a balanced and tasty diet, but we may have to create strong eating boundaries, when it comes to this food group. A diet that requires you to avoid restaurants and social gatherings and eating "normally" also doesn't have a good track record of success. Trendy diets that ask you to eat one thing one week and a different menu plan another week and constantly think about food planning 24/7 also typically fails miserably in the long term. That doesn't mean that portion control, initially measuring food amounts and pre-planning doesn't work. I'm talking about diets that go way beyond that and that often substitute bizarre foods like cookies or cabbage soup in lieu of real food. Finally, if you are an emotional eater or have a true food disorder, you have to address more than just eating habits and patterns. Therapy, short term or long term, may need to accompany menu plans and lifestyle habit changes.
So how are you going to finally outsmart your weight and food issues in 2010? Well the answer may lie in a personalized eating and exercise plan that really addresses your needs specifically. It should take into account everything from how much time you have to shop and prepare food (or not) to your health risks or frank disease to your food preferences to your exercise likes or dislikes. What works for your friend Sally may not work for your long term weight loss. Experts believe if you personalize your new lifestyle change approach, you will have the greatest possibility of success - to lose weight, keep it off and improve your health.
Next up - What to consider for your personalized diet in 2010
Published On: December 28, 2009