There are not many Australian women who haven’t tried a diet at some point in their life. In fact 92% of young women and 44% of women aged 50+ have been on diet to lose weight at least once.
We follow diets for a variety of reasons – to feel good about ourselves, to feel fitter or for a special event like a wedding or holiday. By and large though, the main reason we follow diets is because we have been told having a healthy body weight means we will be healthier.
How many women do you know who have managed to lose a significant amount of weight and kept it off for a long time? Think of your family, friends or work colleagues. I’m guessing not many?
We now know diets don’t work for the majority of us. 1/3 –1/2 of our body weight is often regained within 1 year of following a diet and almost all this weight is regained within 5 years.
So what are we doing wrong?
We have been focusing on the wrong thing – our weight on the scales! There is emerging scientific evidence that if we focus on OUR HEALTH instead of our BODY WEIGHT we will be healthier. It’s called a non-diet approach to health and for many women around the world it’s producing sustainable health improvements, happier times and importantly making eating fun again.
What’s involved with a non-diet approach?
It involves exploring our relationships with food. This means we learn to look at HOW, WHEN and WHY we eat rather than just WHAT or HOW MUCH (which is what a regular diet would involve).
A big part of the non-diet approach is learning the art of mindful eating or ‘eating with awareness’. The great news is with mindful eating we can learn to listen to our hunger levels and eat the right amount of food for us without feeling deprived or guilty. Most importantly we learn to look after ourselves so we don’t fall into the trap of eating certain foods when we are stressed or for comfort. We can learn how to cope with life without using food to make us feel better.
So next time you cross paths with a loved one who is having a hard time on the dieting roller coaster, please mention the non-diet approach to them. It could save them a whole lot of heartache and improve their health for good.