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  • Mel Strunk

The Diet That Works

As an eating disorder professional, and as a human being, I'm constantly aware of the messages that our society is sending about food, health, and weight. It's hard to escape a

conversation centered around how to lose weight, the best new diet, the diet that gives you the most success, etc. Throughout my years as a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, there is one specific diet that I've seen time and time again that seems to increase ones happiness. It's actually not a "diet" at all. That's the exact idea.

Merriam-Webster defines the term diet as "a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight." This is very similar to the behavior that many of my clients with an eating disorder engage in. I understand there is a difference, specifically when it comes to losing weight for medical reasons. However, my focus here is on the fact that while many people go on a diet to try and lose weight, the opposite often tends to happen. When we restrict our food intake by trying to "be good" or "not mess up," we are depriving ourselves of something that our body is telling us that we want. By not allowing ourselves to eat something, it makes us want it even more. It is then easier to end up binging or eating more than you initially would have if you allowed yourself permission in the first place. We need to start changing those negative messages about ourselves that are saying "we're not good or we're messing up because we ate some carbs or a dessert ," to "I choose this food because I want it, I deserve to have something that I'm in the mood for, I'm not a bad person because I ate cake or a donut."

If you could only take some time to honor what you really want and not try and cut entire food groups out of your diet, you may just find yourself happier, healthier, and not focused on food as much. Eating food does not have to be black and white. You don't have to choose an option that you feel is healthy ALL OF THE TIME, just like you wouldn't want to choose an option ALL OF THE TIME that could put you at risk for potential health problems. It's about finding a balance, a place a of peace with food and within yourself. That to me, is the diet that works.

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