Weight Watchers are very keen to distance themselves from diets. As Audrey in wrote in a previous post, they are keen for women (and sadly more and more men ) to see what they offer as a lifestyle choice, as a healthy way of living for good. They are inviting us to play Weight Watchers these days. Yes, play, they suggest, as if counting points, controlling portions and limiting food choices or running around the block to make up for transgressions from the rules (have you heard the ad on the radio?) is just a bit of fun really. In my experience there is nothing fun about being overweight and miserable about it. There is nothing fun about feeling out of control around food, not knowing how to resist the temptation of chocolate and cake and the endless foods that appear on the diet’s forbidden food lists. Struggling with eating and body size is not a game, it saps energy and destroys lives.
- Weight Watchers is a diet because it has a clear set of rules and guidelines which anyone on the plan has to follow.
- Weight Watchers is a diet because it defines for you the foods that are ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
- Weight Watchers is a diet because 99% (if not 100%) of the focus is on weight loss, not on developing a healthy relationship with food and your body.
- Weight Watchers is a diet because you are either on it and doing it, or off it and not doing it.
- Weight Watchers is a diet because food is translated into points that you have to count and measure.
- Weight Watchers is a diet because it measures success by the number on the scales.
Whatever they say, however then market it, Weight Watchers is a diet. There are no two ways about it. And diets don’t work. In fact diets are pretty much guaranteed to make you fatter in the long term than when you started. How many of us started off wanting to lose half a stone and find ourselves with far more than that to lose a few years down the line? We yo-yo up and down time and time again, gaining a few extra pounds each time. We have to keep going back to places like Weight Watchers and do the diet again and again, and every time we go back we are a few pounds heavier than we started.
The Psychology of Weight Loss is not a diet. Weight loss is not the primary goal. Our aims are to empower women to know and trust their bodies, to feel relaxed and in control around food. To feel good about the way they eat and the way they look (whatever their size). And there is always a danger that if you have been dieting for many years and you’re new to Beyond Chocolate, you will make this into a diet too.
It’s tempting to turn the principles into rules or guidelines. Either unconsciously, out of habit or because we feel lost without a sense of structure, without someone telling us what to do. Taking responsibility for ourselves can be challenging.
It’s easy to fall into the all or nothing, doing it/not doing it, diet mentality. After so many years of dieting, being our own Gurus does not come easy to many of us.
So, here are some suggestions for avoiding the diet trap:
If you like structure and you know it works for you, create one of your own. There’s nothing wrong with having a plan or a framework if you know that it supports you.
Give yourself a weight loss holiday – how long would you be willing to experiment with the Psychology of Weight Loss without thinking about whether or not you’re losing weight? Put your bathroom scales away, out of sight, just for a while.
Choose one principle at a time to focus on.
Be willing to make mistakes. If you do all the principles properly, all the time, you will learn nothing and nothing will change.
Support yourself along the way with like minded people (the Beyond Chocolate Forum is a great place for that).
Wherever you start be gentle with yourself, cultivate a spirit of curiosity and kindness, take yourself gently by the hand and take action.