If your New Years resolution is to go on a diet, read this first.

We have had a lot of midnight calls from people in torment about eating and drinking too much. In 5 day’s time, on January 2nd, many people will be detoxing and making a new years resolution to lose weight. Please think again. Just before the holiday season I saw a young woman who made a weight loss resolution last New Year. She lost a lot of weight and gained a horrible eating disorder. Her family relationships are in shreds.

There is no need for detoxes. A healthy liver can detox itself. Dieting creates cravings and fosters weight gain. It makes you miserable and messes with your head and family relationships. Obsession creates compulsions and compulsions create behaviour which is harmful to you and to those who love you.

WHEN WILL IT ALL CHANGE?  Try something different for a change; make a  new years resolution not to diet or detox in January. Shut the diet books and avoid all the well-being gurus out there who want to make money out of you. Don’t fling into unreasonable exercise regimes you cant sustain. Try the intuitive eating approach and feel superior to all those poor souls who think that happiness lies in food austerity.  There is another way, which is all kinds of food in small portions, (stay off the booze) and take walks or cycle rides  in the fresh air with someone you love or your dog. Happiness is not just 4 lbs off your butt.

Happy and healthy New Year, make this one the time you say adios to harmful preoccupations with food. Eat and sleep well, walk in the rain, snuggle up with a cocoa and take care of yourself better.

Source: The Independent


Understanding Fasting

Both ascetics and anorectics strive for perfection . . . Striving towards the ascetic image is a source of satisfaction, and a source of liberation from imprisonment of the body (or from its definition by others) and its bondage to an unacceptable world. In both cases, asceticism is not experienced as self-destructive, but as self-liberating.

Many with anorexia use their religious beliefs to justify extreme fasting, using some of the same rationalisations as the religious ascetic Both have similar goals, such as:

  • Drawing closer to Divinity
  • Becoming more God-like
  • Becoming more worthy of Grace
  • Weakening the body in order to reduce or eliminate human appetites.

Now these aims are very spiritual and appear worthy. There have been many reports of fasting saints especially before medieval times. These saints were venerated.  Ascetic aims can also mask emotional illness in both the religious ascetic and the anorexic.  So let’s just say that there are connections between all people who fast to bring them closer to a nirvana of one sort or another. It is not just about getting a thigh gap or wearing size zero. They develop a relationship with fasting which becomes more important than the relationship with anything or anyone else.

Virtually every recovering anorectic has had a close relationship with fasting. If a therapist lacks a thorough understanding of fasting from spiritual, psychological, and medical perspectives, he or she could unintentionally allow the anorectic to keep their relationship with fasting a secret. Imagine the therapy session in this way; the anorexic patient is describing a personal experience about fasting, but it becomes clear to the patient that the therapist has only a peripheral understanding of fasting. The anorectic is now the expert on what is a critical feature of their psychiatric disorder and the therapist loses credibility when discussing the topic.

We therapists need to  understand of the importance of exploring fasting behaviour in anorexic patients. And treatment needs to include a discussion of what fasting means to each patient. It is not just about fear of food, it is sometimes the quest for an unattainable emotion or an exalted state of mind.  
There is a saying among mental health professionals, “You’re only as sick as your secrets”.  This implies that holding onto secrets—as opposed to revealing them in a safe setting such as during psychotherapy—could potentially impede the recovery of the eating disordered patient.

So as part of this, therapists even without religious feelings themselves should examine the religious and spiritual beliefs of someone with anorexia. Time spent to helping a sufferer to achieve elation in more helpful ways is known to make a difference.

In Search Of A Personalised Diet BBC Horizon

Hello all you people who want to lose weight, this is such an important subject that I have written about this on my personal Blog at Deannetalks but also here as well.

I am going to have a lot to say about the Tanya Byron, Susan Jebb and other expert take on weight loss. I will I promise try to make it positive and helpful.

We are now in the dieting months and I’m already sick and tired of all the diet plans I’m seeing. There is the Ice Diet being promoted by Peta Bee in the Times – sorry Peta, bad science. And even a diet called EAT! Which is just another variant on the low carb diets. These diets are one size fits all and take no account of personal genes and nutrient responses. They are designed to fail in the long run, as all fervent followers will discover.

SO…Have we finally found the Holy Grail of weight loss? Is tailoring DIETS to your obesity-type the best way to help you lose weight? We have been searching for tailored programmes for years.  An army of world famous weight loss experts cannot surely be wrong. Can they?

Well let’s see.

A few years ago, the BBC ran a diet trials experiment at the University of Surrey which compared different types of diets for success. There was a clear winner (Conley)  but the take- home message in the long run is that different types of diet suit different people. People who don’t like calorie counting do well with  Atkins or Dukan, while some  people do really well with a group approach. But in the long run it’s pretty much all the same. Failure, that is, for most 18 months down the line.

The BBC have an all-singing-dancing world expert scientific approach that is new. Do people really divide themselves into three obesity types?

The first “cant-stoppers” who are low on gut hormones.

The second “constant cravers” who probably lack a good leptin response (science here) to tell their brains they aren’t hungry.

The third, “comfort eaters” who meet the day to day stress in life by using food as a feel-good drug.

Perhaps. They have all lost weight, HURRAY – but that proves very little; they have also been very unhappy here and there. it was poor research design, and the proof of the obesity pudding must surely be in how well they are able to keep it off. Oh well, it makes good TV but probably very little else.

Professor Susan Jebb is an expert-expert on obesity but has said that losing weight is not a matter of will, but of habits. People have to change their habits for life. I know that, and part of the therapy I do is to help change habits from very deep inside. This is useful for everyone and flexibility training was missing from the treatment given to these subjects.

But I cannot agree with that. There is a whole new science of willpower – known as self-regulation theory – which is available to obesity specialists and which is helping people to use their willpower to change their lives. This can help comfort-eaters, constant-cravers and cant-stoppers too. Why was this ignored?   So what’s going to happen to these happy weight losers? Will they have to stay on their diets for life, an impossible task surely, unless they learn how to exercise their WILL.

I like it when people feel they have done something valuable and positive. Who could fail to be moved when men weep real tears for having help and support. But is this real science when it ignores real psychological strategies that work, like flexibility training and self-regulation training. More than half of the fatties got “CBT” on top of their diets, maybe it was the CBT not the diet that helped them.

And I want to know why the experts have decided the Intermittent Fasting Regime is right approach for constant cravers. MY RESEARCH TELLS ME THAT FASTING WILL MAKE THEIR PREOCCUPATIONS WORSE? Who said this was the right way for them to eat?

So for me the jury is out. Some bits of this interesting programme hold out hope for people who cannot lose weight. It’s good for someone to know that they may be lacking in a gut hormone that helps them to feel full. Its good to suggest that an emotional eater is not just weak-willed and greedy. It may be useful to know that a constant craver might not be feeling leptin in their brain.

This programme is misnamed. It is called finding the right diet for you. It should be named the right mix of strategies for you. Possibly but I am going to write more about this shortly

World experts should know better than to suggest that what they have done is a solution. It is just one of a number of things that must be properly explored in properly designed clinical trials before we can truly discover a personalized solution for obesity. And we experts know better than to think that any single diet can provide a quick fix even when the experts say “genes”.

Alcohol And Diets

Alcohol Ruins Dieting Efforts for 1 in 4 persons according to research into the dieting efforts of 1000 people by Forza Supplements in 2013 .

We already knew this, but the research makes worrying reading. Alcohol shows effects on willpower, wishes to indulge and impulsivity. It’s calorific too, and very few calorie conscious people calculate how much energy is in a tipple. A moderate drinker can ingest up to nearly 1000 calories in a gentle night out.

Alcohol is known to increase appetite due to its effects on leptin (which is suppressed) leaving the brain ignorant of whether a person has eaten enough or not. As few as two standard drinks can slow down the ability to burn fatty acids by up to 73%.

Alcohol compromises the liver which recognises alcohol as a toxin. As the liver works to get rid of the toxins in alcohol,  it favours the burning of empty calories in the sugar. When those calories are used up, more may not be needed; leaving the calories from more nutritious food to be laid down as fat.
A drink, anyone?

Eat Butter Eat Butter Eat Butter – Yay!

There’s growing evidence that our favourite fat can not only be good for us, it also wont make us fat in moderation says one of my favourite nutrition experts, Dr John Briffa.

For years and years we have had the illusion that all foods can be measured in calories and all calories are the same. We have bought the story that all fat is dangerous and rush like lemmings to buy skimmed or semi skimmed milk, fat reduced sludge that we call margarine,  and low fat everything.

I’m not going to replicate all the physiological arguments here, but the body doesn’t work like that. We have been sold many pups by people who are interested in making money out of our fears. We buy strange yoghurts with plant stanols in our fear to reduce cholesterol and we buy fat-reduced chocolate biscuits and low-fat crisps that taste like cardboard. Fat-reduced biscuits? Who are these people really kidding!

In addition to being made fearful of fats, we are also fearful of particular kinds of fat. Saturated types of fat like butter is supposed to be bad for our waistline and our hearts.  We don’t even know that the second most plentiful fat in butter is unsaturated, which is supposed to be good for us like nuts and seeds and cold pressed olive oil.

But does butter make us fat? Strangely there isn’t much good evidence. Taking fat out of food and milk can make it higher in sugars, which is associated with weight gain. Adding butter to your diet might be good for your brain, make you happier and reduce your cravings for sugar.

So next time your hand hovers over the full cream milk and your eyes wander over the butter in Tesco, let yourself buy it. Full cream milk is a low fat food which will keep your blood sugar stable and light your inner fire. Butter tastes nice, won’t make you fat and is good for your heart.

People with eating disorders and weight problems have become terrified of fat. It’s often the first thing that gets ditched with the dieting.  We need to eat fats and we needn’t be scared of butter. Follow the informed arguments, not the advice of people who want to make money out of your fears. I’ve started eating toast with butter and drinking full fat milk again, and it makes me very, very happy that I can, without fear.