Have you been riding the diet roller coaster? Up and down and up and …
Roller coasters are for amusement parks, not for the kitchen. Frankly, they make me nauseous.
Obtaining nutrition is one of the most natural activities of all living creatures. Everything gets energy from somewhere. If this is such a natural activity, why is there a multi-billion dollar industry full of people telling us how to do it right? In all the chatter about this diet and that diet, we’ve learned to ignore our own body’s wisdom, and doubt our sense of hunger and fullness and our ability to choose healthful foods, let alone trust ourselves in a room with foods we consider “bad”. We chastise ourselves for being imperfect eaters and say uncomplimentary things when we view ourselves in the mirror. We ignore our hunger, causing our cravings to spiral out of control. Enter the bag of cookies that doesn’t make it out of the parking lot of the grocery store.
Consider the “diet” concept based on depriving yourself of foods you truly enjoy. It often requires you to count things: calories, carbs, fats, points, bowls of cabbage soup. Perhaps you must eat at predetermined times rather than according to your hunger. Perhaps you choke down some food you don’t like just because it’s on the “diet.” This pattern leads to rebellion and bingeing on the very foods we think we shouldn’t eat. It leads to a malfunctioning of our hunger and fullness thermostat and slows metabolic rate, making achieving and maintaining a healthy weight virtually impossible. It makes us feel badly and takes all the fun out of eating.
Take a leap of faith in your body’s ability to self-regulate and banish diets. Forever. While we’re at it, let’s banish “should”, “shouldn’t”, “can’t”, “ought to”, “good” and “bad” as they relate to food and eating patterns.
Imagine a world where no food is forbidden. You can eat anything you want anytime you want. There is no guilt. Food is satisfying and delicious – far from the cardboard-like rice cakes of diets past. Texture, color and flavor drive your food choices rather than some prescribed meal plan. Sound peaceful? Or maybe a little scary? Stay tuned for upcoming articles for tips on how to finally get off the diet roller coaster and put the pleasure back into eating.
Laura Foresta is a registered, licensed dietitian with more than 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. Laura owns a private nutrition counseling practice at OMBE Integrative Health Center and has experience working at Albany Medical Center, at the Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology, Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center, and in the Diabetes Management Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
Laura coauthored a book chapter on the nutritional consequences of bariatric surgery, in Bariatric Surgery, A Primer for Your Medical Practice. She provides community nutrition workshops, and corporate lunch-and-learns and wellness programming.
Laura is passionate about helping clients prevent or manage chronic disease with a healthy diet and regular exercise. She focuses on collaborating with her clients to develop techniques to help them make permanent change. Laura grew up in an Italian-American household, and has first-hand knowledge that healthy foods can taste great! Laura’s goal is to help you discover a healthy lifestyle you can live with.Nutritional Counseling