Dr Suzie Edge on 21st century nutrition and health

Is how you talk about dieting sabotaging your weight loss?

Is how you talk about dieting sabotaging your weight loss?

I can’t get through a day without being asked – are you allowed to eat this or that. My response is always the same:  there is nothing I am not allowed to eat, there are many things I choose not to eat, because I am a grown up.

It’s the language of dieting that is driving me potty and I have no doubt that the way we talk about how we are eating – the negative words and phrases we use, must be negatively affecting the outcome. In short – is how you talk about dieting sabotaging your weight loss?

The problem with the words “healthy eating” and “healthy foods” is that we can have varying degrees of what we mean by healthy. To a friend of mine, her very low-fat, low sugar white bread thins are perfect “healthy foods”. To me, that shit just turns to glucose and bang, we’re wearing bigger jeans again. She attends a slimming group. Our ideas of what is “healthy” – differ somewhat.

To me, the dieting groups such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World use bizarre language.  At Weight Watchers there is point counting. The points system does nothing but encourage the wrong food choices by saying it’s OK, you just have a certain number of points a day, so you go ahead and eat those Mars Bars as long as you don’t eat anything else or, wait for it, do some exercise. More on that fallacy later.

Then there’s the Slimming World syn, cyn or sin. However you might spell it and whatever it might mean or represent, you still say the word sin.  So, when you eat certain foods you are committing a sin. You are being bad. You are letting yourself down. This is such self-destructive and unhelpful language.

What you are allowed, what points you have accrued, what sins you have committed, all of these are so negative. The language of dieting does nothing but feed the negativity and after we stop with the diet, and inevitably put on weight, we go back for more. Well that’s how they make their money I suppose…making you feel bad and then bringing you back for more.

We’ve got to get past this language barrier.


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