Have you been fooled?

By Dr Louisa Hoey

The diet industry employs clever people

The diet industry spends millions of dollars on marketing to convince you that diets will help you lose weight.  They will tell you that their method is different, simple and will give you permanent results. The diet industry would have you believe that losing weight is the hard work and once you are there you can start living. This couldn’t be further from the truth!  Have you been fooled?

In some ways weight loss is the easy part: you have a goal, things are exciting and new. Once you reach your goal weight the hard work starts as you try to maintain it. This is when things get boring, your will power is low and old habits creep back in.

Don’t let them take advantage of you

While it is true that lots of different diets will help you to lose weight, we know that the vast majority of people eventually regain the loss and often a bit extra. Even people who have had bariatric surgery (which has the best long term results) tend to gain the weight again, just more slowly than with other methods.

What’s the solution?

Although we haven’t figured out the exact answer yet I have hope that we can solve this massive societal problem. There are people out there who lose weight and keep it off. One piece of the puzzle is to find out what these people do. Here are my top THREE hunches:

Love your body

It is crucial that you work together with your body as your friend not your enemy. If you treat your body as something that has to be beaten into submission, that you hate or are ashamed of you will struggle be more likely to continue to struggle with weight. That negative attitude to your body will eventually wear you down and you will turn to food for comfort. Instead, treat your body as a friend who you need to nourish, nurture and enjoy.

Know your weight

Just like a scientist you need data. And that data is your weight. This will help you stay accountable and honest with yourself. This is not a punishment exercise. If you feel bad, ashamed or anxious about this, then you will need to do some work on your thoughts and making sure that they are helpful not toxic.

Practice makes perfect

We don’t want you to be counting kilojoules for your entire life, however there is a place for this as you are learning to maintain your weight. You might find that for a long time (months or even years) that you quite regularly have to go back to counting and tracking. You need to know how many kilojoules your body requires to either maintain stable weight or to lose some. Use that to guide you. Then spend some weeks practicing keeping to that consumption without tracking. As the same time regularly checking your weight to see how you are going. If it increases a few kilograms you are not a failure, you are learning.

About the Author

Dr Louisa Hoey is a health psychologist.  She is the Director of the Health Psychology Centre. Louisa specialises in the psychological aspects of food, the emotional relationships around food and the development of strategies to a happier more fuller life.

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