Many people get wrapped up from one diet plan to another without any success in achieving their goal for weight. To help understand how people get sucked into chronic dieting cycles and for tips on overcoming chronic dieting cycles, I have interviewed psychologist Lynn Saladino, Psy.D.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a psychologist in full-time private practice in Boston, MA specializing in counseling and weight management for busy professionals and college students. I received my doctorate from Nova Southeastern University where I also earned a concentration in health psychology. Helping people live healthy lifestyles and meet life goals has been a lifelong interest and passion.”
How do people often get sucked into chronic dieting cycles?
“Unfortunately it’s easy and happens for many people. It often starts when someone wants to lose weight and tries to do so in ways that aren’t sustainable or realistic in the long-term. After they lose the weight, they often return to their previous lifestyle and re-gain what they lost. This often leads to another weight loss attempt, which continues the cycle.
In addition, for many people food is a major source of comfort. When people diet without identifying new ways to manage difficult things in their life, they often return to over-eating, which contributes to weight gain.”
What type of impact can being in a chronic dieting cycle have on someone’s life?
“Chronic dieting can have a number of emotional impacts on a person. Although practically speaking it can be almost impossible to sustain many traditional diets, regaining weight often leads to feelings of failure and guilt. In addition, for many chronic dieters, they can begin to see food as a way to judge themselves, rather than as a source of joy and nourishment.”
What are 4 tips for overcoming chronic dieting cycles?
“The following are my 4 tips for overcoming chronic dieting cycles:
1. Replacing a dieting mentality with lifestyle change is the first step. Living a healthy lifestyle is a gradual process, so remember that it doesn’t and often shouldn’t happen overnight!
2. Reassess your reasons for making a lifestyle change and make a list of pros and cons. This really IS a decision. If your only motivation for changing your lifestyle is ’cause I should’, it will likely not be powerful enough to help you stick it out long term.
3. Identify and reduce any ‘good food/ bad food’ labels you are giving to food. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the path to healthy, long term weight management isn’t about cutting out certain foods all together.
4. Find encouraging support and some professional help. There is no reason to do this alone! Working together with a group of friends makes it more fun and leads to greater success. Also, there are many talented professionals who can be a great source of information and support.”
What type of professional help is available for someone that is having a difficult time overcoming chronic dieting cycles?
“There are professionals in many fields that can be helpful in this process. Therapists, dieticians, primary care physicians, and wellness coaches can all offer valuable guidance. In addition, many hospitals are now offering weight management programs. I encourage my counseling clients to work with professionals from several fields, for example a dietician and/or a primary care physician, so they get the benefit of a collaborative approach.
My advice for finding the right professional is to do some research and have a consultation, asking them about their experience and philosophy on weight management. Your comfort with the individual is an important factor to your success so the work involved in the research can really pay off.”
Thanks Dr. Saladino for doing the interview on tips for overcoming chronic dieting cycles. For more information on Dr. Saladino or her work you can check out her website on drlynnsaladino.com.
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