Posted by: dietingnow | April 27, 2007

The Most Natural Way to Lose Weight

Because of our society’s obsession with thinness, losing weight is a primary concern for many individuals, particularly women. Sometimes it’s an obsession that goes too far. Many women with perfectly normal body weight consider themselves overweight, and this applies to young girls as well. It’s very sad to see girls as young as eleven or twelve anxiously watching their weight. Over time, for many of us, it’s just too much pressure.

Geneen Roth, an author who has written many books about self-regulated eating, says “for every diet there is an equal and opposite binge”. That is, over time dieting and obsessing about your weight can actually create a weight problem. Nobody can deal with the pressure of deprivation forever – sooner or later, something’s got to give. When it does, the result may be that you lose control of your eating – or, as the tragic stories of many anorexic girls will attest to, you lose control of your dieting. Geneen Roth isn’t alone in this way of thinking, either. Many experts are coming to believe that dieting just doesn’t work.

But if not dieting, then what? Self-regulated eating is one alternative that Roth and others recommend. If, like many women in our society, you have spent literally years of your life on a diet, you have probably lost track of what it feels like to eat for the most natural reason of all – because you happen to be hungry. This approach to weight loss aims at making eating natural again. It’s very simple: if you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. And when you’re eating, as soon as you feel full, stop.

That’s all there is to it. For many of us, accustomed to restrictive diets, this may sound like the most unlikely way in the world to lose weight. As a matter of fact, it isn’t. It may not make you lose weight quickly – in fact, some people even gain a little before they start to lose. But over the long term, because this is a natural way of eating, it will get your body back to its natural healthy weight.

Of course, the weight that’s natural and healthy for you may not bear any resemblance to the fashion models we see in magazines. In fact, studies have shown that less than 1% of women naturally have bodies that are proportioned like a fashion model’s, so maybe it’s time for us all to make peace with the bodies that we do have.

And that’s exactly what the natural approach to eating can help you achieve. It’s not a diet – in fact, it’s even been called an anti-diet. You may assume, that if you eat whatever you want whenever you’re hungry, that you’ll end up eating only unhealthy, high-fat foods. That may be true at first, but those who have gone through this process will attest to the fact that over time, your eating habits naturally become healthier. The first week or so, you may end up eating a lot of cookies or chips. Chances are that, after that, you’ll crave vegetables or protein. It will all even out over time.

In fact, scientific studies done with children have proven this very thing. The children in the study were allowed to select the foods they wanted to eat from a wide selection. At first, they all gravitated toward cake, chips and candy, probably because these were the foods that their parents restricted at home. After a day or so, however, they naturally switched to healthier foods. Over the span of a week, even though they were never told what to eat and what not to eat, virtually all the children ended up eating a nutritious, balanced diet.

That’s why the self-regulated eating plan does not have any forbidden foods. The thinking goes like this: if a food is forbidden, that will make you want it even more. When you finally get hold of it, you won’t be able to stop. But if all foods are allowed, there’s no need to obsess about any of them. You can just give your body whatever you feel it needs, and over time, this will lead to easy, natural weight loss.

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