As a specialist in the treatment of obesity and eating disorders, my business skyrockets every year after New Year’s Day and every spring. And I hate it! Although great for business, this boom means all those ‘get in shape’ diet resolutions are falling by the wayside. And that translates into patients who develop or relapse to eating disorders, and others who lose weight only to regain more than they lost. In other words, a lot of very frustrated people.
As a psychologist who walks her talk, I have channeled my frustration into action. I started this blog to help readers exit the diet roller-coaster, avoid eating disorders, and manage their weight. With over 40 years in the field, I have seen countless programs, products, and promises fail, and I have helped countless individuals shape their thoughts and actions to build healthier lives. While a blog cannot replace therapy, it sure as heck can get you thinking and moving in a happier direction.
The Diet Industry
To begin, let’s talk about what the diet industry is and its purpose. The “diet industry” is all the products and programs that are advertised to help you lose weight. From ‘diet’ foods to apps to clinics and clubs, these companies are in the business of moving money from your pocket to theirs. The most effective way to accomplish that is to tap into your bad feelings about yourself and promise that their product will make you feel better. And they are very, very good at this—successfully moving many millions of dollars from your pocket to theirs every year!
In future posts, I talk about the role of body dissatisfaction in causing weight gain and eating disorders. I also talk about sustainable approaches to weight management that I teach in A Diet is the Last Thing You Need: Weight Loss & Maintenance Answers, and how to make peace with your body and yourself.
Crazy Stuff We Try!
For now, though, let’s talk about what you have already tried. I invite you to share with me those programs and products you used that have left you still googling diet tips (and I know you’re doing that because here you are!). I will start the list with five of the zanier tactics my patients have reported:
- Sheep urine injections—I swear this is true although I cannot recall what the reasoning was. I do recall those patients who tried this neither losing weight nor feeling especially well.
- Grapefruit with every meal—Perhaps there is a Secret Grapefruit Lobby behind this one because there is no other reason to overdose on grapefruit.
- Cabbage soup diet—Any weight loss achieved with this primarily came from loss of appetite, and was quickly ditched in favor of flavor.
- Daily ice-water baths—The belief was that since the body had to work to stay warm, it would burn more calories and cause weight loss. The result was increased intake of hot chocolate and weight gain.
- Chewing until food is almost liquid—The result was sore jaws and fewer dinner invitations from friends who found their appetites killed as a result of watching the chewer eat.
Comment below to share your diet efforts—the common, the extreme, and the “OMG I can’t believe I tried that!” Let’s clear out the old, debunk the silly, and move forward!