You did not fail the diet. The diet failed you.

Let me make this very, very clear: You did not fail the diet. The diet failed you.

The diet industry is big business, making billions of dollars a year. It’s probably the only industry where people continue to buy the product, despite a failure rate greater than 90% (cited as up to 98%).

Such a high failure rate is (oddly) profitable for diet companies. Why? If a diet worked the first time, you’d have no reason to go back and spend more money.

Many diets work for a short period of time. You lose weight, receive loads of compliments, feel great and believe that this diet (finally!) is successful.

However, for over 90% of people, the diet becomes unsustainable. The weight goes back on (usually with extra), the compliments stop (and you become panicked about what people think of you now), and you feel like a failure.

But why do you blame yourself, rather than blaming the diet?
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Emotional Energy

You have a finite amount of emotional energy. How you choose to use and replenish that energy can have a profound impact on your quality of life. At this time of year, when many people are setting New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or change their body, I wanted to touch on the emotional energy requirements of dieting – because food is about lot more than just the physical.

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The Week That Was #4

A couple of great articles this week and a few things to make you smile. Would love to hear your thoughts, or let me know if you’ve seen any body positive diet or exercise info that should be shared 🙂

1. When NOT to eat mindfully.
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of mindful eating and I believe it’s the best way to develop a healthy relationship with food. But it’s not always appropriate, for example, those with an eating disorder or history of disordered eating. Fiona is a dietitian at RIPE and has written a great post exploring when it’s not always best to eat mindfully and some tips on how to introduce mindful eating when you’re ready.

2. What to watch when you’re having a s#!$ body image day…
Sure, it’s not going to fix everything, but it made me smile 🙂
P.S. Click the title above, not the picture, to go through to the link….

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3. This article exploring the relationship our children have with the word fat.
Really worth the read. I find it so upsetting that we’re teaching children to make assumptions about who people are based on the body shape. Regardless of what body shape or size someone is, regardless of how healthy they are (which you cannot tell from just looking at someone anyway), they are still a person and deserve to be treated with respect. If we want the world to become more accepting and promote a positive relationship with food, exercise and our bodies we need to begin teaching that to the younger generations.

“One of the consistent themes that I ran across speaks to the fact that children associate some of the worst possible personality traits and social outcomes with the words “fat” and “obese”.  Today, the younger generation no longer thinks of fat as simply a descriptor for shape or a biological substance, they equate it to lazy, bad, evil, uneducated, unacceptable and unlovable.  When they hear “fat” they do not hear that a person is fat shaped, they hear that a person is unworthy of respect and acceptance, consequently if they think they are “fat, they believe those same negative things about themselves.”

4. Getting rid of the scale.
I think people either love or hate the scale. Some people can have quite a healthy relationship with it, only checking in from time to time and they don’t allow the number to dictate their mood or their life. Then there are other people (I would hazard a guess and say the majority), who find the scale all consuming. Remember: the only thing the scale tells you is your current relationship with gravity; it will naturally fluctuate day to day. But the scale doesn’t tell you anything about your health, your body composition, your blood cholesterol or glucose, your bone density. It doesn’t tell you how fit you are, how far you can run, how much weight you can lift. It doesn’t tell you how talented and smart you are. It doesn’t tell you how much your family and friends love you.

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5. Squat Technique – using a plate under the heels?
Seen people in the gym doing squats with a plate or wedge under their heels? Ever wondered why or if you should be doing it too? Andrew from Move EP is an accredited exercise physiologist (and great friend of mine); he’s written a fantastic article clarifying why people do it but also why it’s actually not a good idea. Stretch your calves people!

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This is a bad idea!

The Raw Food Diet, Correlation and Causation.

On TV this morning there was a report on the ‘raw food revolution.’ It featured a man who’d lost a large amount of weight and ‘cured’ himself of cancer. That sounds pretty amazing and is definitely a good promotion for the raw food diet. But, there’s a big BUT… Hang with me until the end of the article…

I loved the statistics subject at university (there’s every possibility I am the ONLY student to have ever said that). It taught me how to carefully analyse, scrutinise and understand research studies. It taught me that correlation doesn’t equal causation. I’m lucky I had the opportunity at university to learn these skills.

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The Week That Was #3

Despite the fact we’re only 3 weeks away from summer, the weather here in Melbourne is still cold and wet. I just got back from a walk in the rain; there’s something about being outside that really helps clear my head.

Lots of reading involved this week; make yourself a cuppa and get comfy 🙂

1. This article about ‘real’ food.
All food is real. Whether it’s grown in a garden or made from a packet; it is still food. And it’s up to each individual to determine what the right diet for them is. If you choose to follow a diet made of primarily whole foods grown in your backyard, then awesome! I honestly think it’s a great thing to do if it’s working for you. But it’s just as awesome if you choose to shop at a supermarket and use bottled pasta sauce (that’s me because I always end up killing my basil plant!). Regardless of your food choices, they are yours and yours alone.

2. Dr Rick Kausman’s on radio!
Last Sunday, and for the next 3, Dr Rick Kausman will be presenting on ABC Melbourne radio at 11:30am. Next Sunday will feature Clinical Psychologist Louise Adams. Well worth a listen if you have the time.

3. Snoopy Wisdom!
I posted a Snoopy cartoon on the AHP Facebook page this morning, but this one was too cute not to share as well!

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4. This article on how to change your body image monologue.
Body image can have a really profound impact on an individual’s life; affecting their physical, social, emotional and mental health. One way it manifests is in the way we think about ourselves – what sort of thoughts run through your head when you look at your body? If they are negative, this article provides some tips on how to change and create some positivity.

5. This article about Eating Disorder recovery.
Eating disorders are not about body shape or weight. You can be ANY shape or size and have an ED. Yet, so often in the media we are shown images of emaciated young women (also – what about men and older people?). This article expresses that even when someone is a ‘healthy’ weight, the pain of an ED can still very much exist.

“I beg you; don’t dismiss someone because they look fine. Don’t dismiss yourself. Don’t wait to get help. I’m sorry that people are so judgmental. I’m sorry you think you’re not sick enough – not thin enough – until someone forces you into treatment. I’m sorry that eating disorders are misunderstood.”

6. This status update from Nutritionist Fiona McHugh
Not much more I can say on this one – I love what she says and completely agree!

The Week That Was #2

Hi! I missed last week as I was holidaying in Sydney. It’s a beautiful city with lots of lovely walks around the harbour – I love that form of exercise, definitely more enjoyable than walking on a treadmill.

So here’s a few things from the past 2 weeks that I loved!

1. This beautifully written post on why freedom is an amazing reason to exercise.
There are lots of different ways to be physically active beyond going to the gym (see my holiday above) and there’s lots of reasons to be active beyond the desire to change our appearance. Sometimes we need to change the way we think about exercise and how we do it. It should be a form of enjoyment rather than punishment. This article is just lovely. 

2. This video on meditation and neuroplasticity.
I believe that the way we think has a huge influence on our lives, the way we think about ourselves and others. If we’re constantly saying or thinking negative things to ourselves, that’s what we’ll end up believing. Taking some time out from your thoughts and then working to make them more positive can really have a huge impact on quality of life. The video is only 8 minutes; grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy.

3. This article discussing how weight loss prevents alien abductions…
Haha not really! But you’d be forgiven for thinking it after listening to some people who believe weight loss is the cure for everything. But even if it was – we are yet to find a fool-proof way for people to successfully lose weight and keep it off. We know that diets don’t work. We know that most people regain the weight they have lost, plus more. We know that yo-yo dieting and weight leads to physical complications, not to mention the mental and emotional impact it can have. We know that healthy food and exercise behaviours are good for the mind and body and are achievable for all people – yet it doesn’t guarantee weight loss. So maybe that’s where we need to change our thinking, focus on healthy behaviours not weight.

4. This picture. 
It can be difficult to know how to help someone who is struggling; sometimes you need to do nothing more than be there.

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