Having spent a lifetime thinking about food and weight and weight loss, I consider myself a connoisseur of these matters. Although I haven’t been on every diet in the world, and I did avoid the riskier weight loss endeavors like growth hormone shots, fat farms or adult fat camps, I’ve certainly done my share of fasting (Optifast and others) and my personal favorite way to fail, to decide to be “perfect” in my eating.
Thank goodness the light has dawned and I realized that there is no such thing as “perfect eating” or “good” or “bad” food. Cleaning up my thought processes is what helped me to gain some balance and finally stabilize my weight and then take off some pounds. Before I gave up the ideas about “good” and “bad” food, the wackier I ate, and in the end, the more weight I gained. I also found any kind of diet was too restrictive; it just didn’t take MY needs into consideration, and I dieted my way to my highest weight. Weight loss spas , weight loss retreats or adult weight loss camps only served to reinforced inappropriate behaviors and attitudes…all directed towards the ‘quick fix.’
I talk to women every day that are convinced they have a food or sugar “addiction,” when it seems apparent that they are suffering from too much dieting, too much restriction, too much trying to do it according to someone else’s idea of a “perfect” way to eat. They’ve bought the whole ball of wax… the diet mentality. It’s hard to convince them that a little moderation and return to normalcy with food and thoughts about food is possible, and that the first step is to get off the diet. Why is it so hard for so many to understands that diets don’t work.
Therefore I found much vindication in an article I read in the New York Times by former food critic William Grimes. Mr. Grimes took the new USDA Dietary Guidelines and tried to follow them. He wrote an article called, “Eating My Spinach: Four Days on the Uncle Sam Diet.” Here are some of the paragraphs that stood out to me.
So here it is for all to see, a man with no weight problems and no food “issues” goes on a diet and is driven so crazy by trying to schedule his life and eating around what someone else thinks is a good idea, that he soon gets all the “symptoms” of “food addiction” and “lack of willpower” that women ascribe to themselves. The only difference in this man’s life is the diet that he started. Things that make you go “hmmmmm.”
I’d like to suggest we all take a moment to look at Marsha Hudnall’s articles on Perfectionism and Weight Loss and Redefining Healthy Eating as a way to clear our minds before looking further at what Mr. Grimes experienced during his diet encounter.