Dieting on Empty: The Problem with Diet Mentality – Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego

Dieting on Empty: The Problem with Diet Mentality

I recently helped my patient Melinda sift through her New Year’s resolution, coaching her on diet mentality and how to make healthier food choices to quiet her binge eating. She is a voracious dieter, never trusting herself to put together an eating-for life formula to compliment her lifestyle. In short, she had all the makings of another New Year’s resolution diet fiasco—or so I thought.

Melinda didn’t stick with her diets, and after scrutinizing her timeline of expectation—lose two pounds a week on a 1300-a-day calorie diet—I can understand why.

It looked nothing like my own food-for-life formula, which offers a satisfying mix of balanced meals, exercise, meditation and prayer from an assortment of personal experience and quality recommendations from  patients I’ve spent years curating and tweaking for 23 years.

Melinda’s diet left her hungry, weak, and craving sugary and salty foods.

My patient could have groomed her assortment of diet rituals, but why should she? Like many patients, she was open to try a new diet with the promise of quick weight loss, but not especially determined to stay on it, and her initial experience failed to deliver the promised weight loss in a more efficient way.  The time and emotional energy she’d invested in it hadn’t convinced her on the positive results, and she wasn’t motivated on investing more time.

One of the greatest strengths of investing in balanced meals, exercise, meditation, and prayer is its ability to free the binge eater from diet mentality. For some it’s a way of making peace with years of on-and-off dieting and to release weight for once. For others, it’s a new full-proof formula encouraging food as fuel, exercise as energy booster, meditation and prayer to feed the spiritual hunger.

What  jumping off the diet-merry-go-around amounts to—weight loss, self empowerment, spiritual food, peace of mind—depends entirely on what lifestyle balance you prescribe.

Yes, embarking on clean eating and spiritual practice also poses problems for some. Learning to “feel” emotions rather than eat them requires a closer look at daily issues that were numbed by food. Jumping on a balance life  style formula is like winning the lotto—only instead of getting a pile of green cash—the winner pays taxes, learns of “family and friends” she didn’t know she had and the expectancy to clear everyone’s debt. The experience might be a pleasant one, but it takes work.

This initial flood of emotions and the effort required to address it stands between the dieter and the healthy formula it needs to make peace with diet mentality.

The list of successful patients continues to grow.

For dieters to turn over a new relationship with food, emotions, and experience a thriving, successful lifestyle, they must do the legwork. They must begin with a balanced breakfast, lunch, metabolic boost, and dinner; incorporate with daily exercise, meditation and prayer.

But no doubt people will lack the perseverance to trust that their body and emotions will respond. People lose patience when rapid weight loss doesn’t come, instead a slow and steady change of body, mind and spirit evolves over time.

Next New Year there will be no need of a New Year’s resolution promising to eat a meager 1300 calories only to give up due to starvation. Instead, Melinda will ring in the New Year with a svelte body and a clear mind and have no need to make a resolution at all because she adopted a lifelong plan that she can live with one day at a time.

Photo Taken By: Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego

About the Author Lisa Ortigara Crego

Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.

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