It is unrealistic for most people to experience a steady one-way recovery. The principles in this program are difficult to apply for many reasons. A serious one is diet propaganda. Those who recover have to completely block out the fast weight loss gimmicks and tricks on TV and magazines stacked in grocery store check out shelves, not to mention Internet diet ads. They must focus their goals and expectations on almost entirely different things. Recovery is holistic.
The focus of your recovery is you as a complete person, including your overall health and best weight. Many who have recovered say it’s about getting your whole life back.
It only makes sense that people would struggle with ideas so contrary to everything they have believed for most of their lives. The idea that eating really good food, never going hungry, and letting your body tell you to stop eating, is bizarre to many, amazing to some, crazy to others. But if you see the sense in this approach and want to give it an honest try, keep reading! There are some wonderful things ahead.
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We’ve talked about food, we’ve talked about hunger, we’ve discussed exercise, we know about food availability and the feast or famine cycle and we’ve pretty much proved that dieting is bad for you. Now let’s whittle it down to the core. Let’s describe this program in a nutshell, contrasting it to the diet approach.
Traditional dieting approaches overeating and weight gain from theoretical causes such as emotions, stress, the availability of too much food, bad food, lack of discipline, laziness and gluttony. Although some of these variables may be relevant, the solution of this approach typically and oddly targets only the physical problem of excess weight. It proffers food-intake control plus exercise as the solution— forced weight loss based on the calories in/calories out theory. It requires unnatural will power and self-denial, which determined dieters employ in sometimes heroic efforts to lose weight fast. The big advantage of traditional dieting is the relatively rapid loss of weight, and this is why people keep doing it. The disadvantage is that weight lost by this method is almost always regained.
The adaptation paradigm demonstrates that overeating and weight gain are adaptive when food intake is intermittently limited. It is a holistic approach, targeting the underlying biological forces that lead to overeating and the accumulation of excess fat. Its principles are supported by research. There are many advantages to this approach: First, over weight people are not required to starve themselves in order to lose weight quickly. Hunger is satisfied, food choices are broad, patterns of recovery are established as guidelines, regular exercise is personalized and may be moderate. There are three basic drawbacks of this approach: It requires independence and strong personal commitment over time. It lacks structure; there is no diet to go on or off. The third drawback of this approach is that it takes more time to lose weight. The main advantages are lasting weight loss and freedom from the diet lifestyle.
As I mentioned above, one of the distinguishing features of this approach is that there is no specific diet to follow; no one tells you when to eat, what to eat or how much to eat. This is usually more of a problem than not. Is this surprising? We’ve mentioned that dieters tend to want the structure of a legalistic program There are so many decisions to make and dieters are not confident in their ability to make these decisions—just look at the sorry state their bodies are in when they decide for themselves! They want information on perfect foods, evil foods, vitamins, supplements, food combinations, fat burning foods, special recipes, and especially how fast they can lose weight if they follow the diet religiously. But besides their lack of confidence, I have noticed that dieters also have brains, experience, desire, learning potential and common sense. I believe those motivated to apply these principles will learn to shop, learn to eat, learn to relax about food and finally, learn to live in a new way. All along the way they will make this program their own because it is not a static one size fits all program. Each individual will work through the stages of recovery thoughtfully and patiently, the only way it can be done.
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