We live in a society dominated by “diet culture” and at times, we can become obsessed with the desire to be “thin”. We are also constantly bombarded with messages about the “obesity epidemic” and how we need to lose weight as a population in order to prevent the chronic health conditions associated with being overweight. While there are countless “diets”, online programs, 12-week challenges, meal replacements and even bariatric surgery that promise to help you lose weight, none of these address the underlying cause(s), nor do they offer lifelong solutions.
Personally, I find many, if not most of these programs, to be stigmatising and demoralising to people struggling with their weight. Many approaches can encourage you to measure your weight or body composition, weigh your food and count calories. leading you to focus on external factors – but none of these actually help you learn to recognise whether you are satisfying your body’s needs.
95% of people who go on a diet regain the weight, often with more. This leads to weight cycling or Yo-Yo dieting as people cycle between excessively restrictive diets then binge phases (which lead to the weight re-gain). It is this that results in people dieting themselves to often significant weight gain.
Dieting is the biggest risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Girls who diet are found to be 7-8x more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who don’t diet, with most clients/patients with Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge eating disorder admitting to dieting before the onset of their disorder.
People who eat Intuitively have the lowest BMI. This is because they are able to recognise and respond to their hunger and fullness cues, and eat to a level that is safe. They don’t deny themselves food so they never feel deprived – consequently they rarely overeat.
As an Accredited Practising Dietitian, I have the skills and knowledge to comprehensively assess the broad range of underlying factors that may have contributed to your weight issues. These include medical factors (e.g metabolic disturbances such as Insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, hypo/hyperthyroidism, adrenal fatigue, depression/anxiety, menopause), medications, family history/genetics, lifestyle, emotional and psychological factors, body image, food knowledge and understanding and physical activity. All of these play a role in weight management.
While it sounds cliched, there really is “no one size fits all” approach, and my job as a dietitian is to listen to you and hear what past experiences have worked, which ones have not been useful, and to come up with a lifestyle plan that suits your goals. In most cases my approach is to promote healthy eating principles using approaches I have learned through the Non-diet approach and Intuitive eating as I do not believe that prescribing diets is feasible in the long term. However in some conditions and for some people a more structured approach is required in the first instance, and I am able to provide more structured plans and support on a case by case basis (see below).
I also understand that taking the jump from long-term dieting to intuitive eating is a big step, so I meet you where you are at, and slowly teach you to trust what your body is telling you. This maybe with a meal plan right now – but over time the aim is to achieve internally regulated eating, where you can recognise your hunger and fullness cues, and feel safe around all foods. There is nothing quite so liberating as being off the chronic dieting cycle as it not only leads to a genuine enjoyment of food, but it also results in the good health that comes from adequate nutrition.
Many people come to me wanting weight loss, but what they actually want – after we have a long chat – is to feel healthier. When we put weight goals aside, the bigger issues are usually around heart health (lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and/or blood glucose levels), increasing energy, improving sleep, decreasing stress and anxiety, improving overall mood, feeling less awful about body image, or just generally feeling healthier. I believe by focusing on these goals it is far more motivating, as they respond to changes in diet very quickly, while weight takes longer to move downwards – but eating healthily still has wonderful and significant impacts on your health.
Want more Structure?
In some cases, weight loss may have been suggested as being beneficial in managing a medical condition. These include diabetes, insulin resistance, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, cancer prevention and others. If you are thinking you want a more structured approach either because of a medical condition, or because you work best this way I do provide this by:
- Taking a comprehensive medical, social, and lifestyle history in order to understand you needs, wants preferences and goals
- Analysing your diet history and discussing with you what dietary changes you are wanting to, or think you can, make
- Discussing with you what health goals are your priority and determining in collaboration with you how these may or may not be working with your current diet and lifestyle
- In partnership with you, determining a plan for nourishing your body that can help you feel energised and healthy, while achieving your health goals established above.
Please feel free to contact me here or call me on 0438 633 038 if you want to discuss your health care needs and decide if I am the right person to help you.
Learn to listen to your body without dieting, so you can live your best life
With 20 years of education and elite performance experience, book an appointment to discuss how I can help you reach your health and wellness goals
Macquarie Health Collective
165 Brisbane St
Tel: 02 6882 7113
Wednesdays and Thursday: 8:30am to 5.00pm