Not Dieting Versus Dieting: Latter Leads to Yo-Yo Cycle

Not dieting versus dieting as an approach isn’t as easy as it might sound, especially if it sounds to you as though the former is the opposite of dieting. It’s not. It’s about making your own decisions day in and day out about eating, which often feels harder than not eating at all.

Non-dieters often are confronted with others’ lack of understanding of this approach. Back when I stopped dieting, in fact, there were few known supporters to turn to. I was lucky to find Geneen Roth, whose second book on this issue, Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating (1984), had just been published.

Roth’s revolutionary concepts have long included a list of Eating Guidelines as opposed to dieting guidelines:

1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
4. Eat what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied.
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.

Need more info about not dieting versus dieting plans? Dr. Karin Kratina points out one major trend: whereas dieting involves following external rules—and thus often leads ultimately to rebellion—non-dieting is about learning to recognize internal needs and cues.

In today’s world many other books and resources have joined those of Roth and her co-pioneers on the topics of mindful eating, intuitive eating, normal eating, and the non-dieting approach—and each of these buzzwords is usually pretty synonymous with the others. Interested in a good definition of normal eating? Evelyn Tribole, a co-author of Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, points readers on her website to her favorite, written by Ellyn Satter.

One of the more recent books of this genre is The Self-Compassion Diet (2010) by Jean Fain, a therapist. Tribole’s review:  “Jean Fain’s engaging writing style, complete with mini-assessments, helpful practices, and case-studies, will help you say goodbye to dieting, once-and-for-all, and feel good in the process.”

Below is Fain’s video explaining why diets often fail and how her book can help:

Tomorrow’s post will pick up with info from a recent article by Fain about the fat acceptance movement….

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