Stop the dieting cycle
What is the dieting cycle? “Within a diet and thin-focused culture, the focus has been on weight loss as the goal. This ‘treatment’ is often promoted by well-intentioned friends, family, and professionals. But with binge eating, dieting is a causal factor in the development of binge eating disorder. So it’s essential for treatment to provide alternatives to dieting for improving health and body image. In fact, weight loss as a goal of treatment—as opposed to goals of improved self-care–can be damaging to the process of recovery.” ~Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)
What does it mean to weight cycle?
In order to see the effect the scale may have on your nutrition behaviors, body image, and self esteem take some time to answer the following:
- How long have you been watching the scale? What is the frequency in which you weigh yourself?
- Journal about how you feel when the scale shows a decrease in weight.
- Journal about how you feel when the scale shows an increase in weight.
- What are the pros of daily weighing?
- What are the cons of daily weighing?
Use the questions above to evaluate if weighing yourself often is bringing you CLOSER to your health goals or if it may be bringing your FURTHER away from your health goals. Try to identify feelings associated with weighting such as guilt, shame, accomplishment, anxiety, relief, pride, excitement, disappointment.
Beyond a Shadow of a Diet
One of my favorite resources is a book by Ellen Frankel and Judith Matz, Beyond a Shadow of a Diet. Here are some interesting points they make about the use of scales in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder:
- The scale is a tool used that ultimately increases body dissatisfaction.
- Binge eaters give this instrument tremendous power to determine whether they are going to have a “good day” or a “bad day”.
- The use of the scale to motivate controlled eating almost always fails.
- Events if the scale shows a number that is higher:
- Lament the lack of will power or other feelings of distress.
- Anxiety around this number increases probability that they will turn to food.
- May immediately soothe feeling of failure/disappointment or impose a period of restriction to undo the weight gain- setting up for a binge.
- Events if the scale shows a number that is lower:
- The person has endured the physical and physiological deprivation of the foods they love to achieve this goal and now they deserve a REWARD.
- Stirs up pressure to lose additional pounds which sets the diet binge cycle in motion.
Another question to ask yourself is if you were to give up weighing yourself daily, what fears can you identify? What might you gain? Remember that a weight focused approach is in direct opposition to eating intuitively.
It is time to throw away your scale!
Did you know that it is also possible to refuse to get weighed at your doctor’s office? If for some reason getting your weight is necessary, then you can certainly asked to have a blind weight done. This means that you would stand on the scale backwards and the health professional would read your weight, but not comment on it at all.
If you are ready to stop using the scale as a barometer for your health, worth, or happiness make an appointment with one of our registered dietitians today. We will help you quit the diet and start nourishing your body with compassion. We see clients in Annapolis, Rockville, Greenbelt and Columbia, Maryland (Sundays through Fridays).
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this blog for BOGO (by one get one free for a friend or loved one)!
Blog reviewed and updated February 28, 2020