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I recently received a message from a previous client. It had been a few months since we last worked together.  She reached out because she had just had her bloodwork done for the 1st time since we had initially begun working together.

Shocking to her, all of her numbers were within normal range, which was something she hadn’t seen in many years.

But here is what is really shocking!!!!!!!! (Well, not so shocking to me.)

 

She was able to improve her health without focusing on dieting or weight loss

Unfortunately, so many doctors and healthcare professionals have an immense amount of weight bias and falsely believe that focusing on weight loss is the best way and sometimes only way to improve health.

 

I have found that not focusing on dieting or weight loss is actually a more effective strategy for improving your health in the long-term. Weight loss can sometimes be a byproduct of that focus and sometimes it won’t be.

 

But it’s better to focus on health and let weight loss be a potential byproduct then to focus on weight loss because long-term health improvements are a less likely byproduct. 

 

So, what did she do instead of dieting to improve her health? Let’s take a look:

 

  1. She put an immense amount of trust in me, even when what I was telling her was the opposite of everything she had heard about food and health.  She chose to try something new. She felt that she didn’t have a choice. She had come to the realization that dieting was keeping her stuck binging, and even if she didn’t learn how to eat perfectly, she had to stop binging.  

2. She allowed herself to eat all foods. The guilt/shame didn’t dissipate overnight, but when the emotions surfaced we worked through them together. Eventually she developed enough positive self-talk that she was able to do it on her own. Like most people who are able to fully embrace intuitive eating, she found that overall her body wanted to eat balanced and reasonably healthy meals most of the time. Eventually she was no longer binge eating and eating mostly balanced meals while still getting to enjoy life.

3. She stopped thinking weight loss was going to solve everything.  I hear all the time from clients, “I need to lose weight because…[fill in the blank]”  My knees hurt, my clothes don’t fit, I have high blood sugar level, I don’t like my body, etc.  What I like to remind them is that those things are all possible regardless of changes in your weight.

This client is proof.  She was able to get her bloodwork results in range without beating herself up about her size. Her body is perfect just the way it is. She turned her back on our thin obsessed fat phobic society and did what she needed to do to feel good about her food and stop binge eating. While doing it she was still able to:

  • eat her favorite foods
  • bake with her grandchildren
  • skip dinner because she ate ice cream instead and wasn’t hungry
  • eat satisfying meals throughout the day
  • enjoy wine trails with her best friend
  • go out to eat

The hardest part of surrendering to the process of healing from binge/emotional eating and chronic dieting is giving yourself the gift of putting weight loss on the back burner for a while.

Even if you are trying to get healthy without dieting, you don’t have to focus on not eating specific foods. Trust me when I say, it is better to focus on what you can eat that will lead to improvements in your health vs trying to avoid certain foods. It’s also helpful to look at the big picture of what you are eating when assessing your food intake versus nitpicking each individual food you eat.

The same thing goes for wanting to improve things such as cholesterol, blood sugar levels and your A1c level. It is not required that you only focus on not eating specific foods to see normal levels. Things like sleep, stress management and physical activity will also play a roll in improving these numbers while providing some flexibility in your diet.

 

If you’d like to learn more about my NO DIET approach to living your best life.  Join my private facebook group No Diets, No BS | End Emotional Eating & Yo-yo Dieting w/ Dietitian Dina today!  

Dina Garcia, RD, LDN
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