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Anti-Diet: How to lose weight without diet?

The rational way to eat foodJ. ill Carlson, 36, did have ice cream issues. But the Chicagoan , who dropped 60 pounds and recovered them via ...

Anti-Diet: How to lose weight without diet?

The rational way to eat foodJ. ill Carlson, 36, did have ice cream issues. But the Chicagoan, who dropped 60 pounds and recovered them via a number of various diets, did something dramatic. Instead of adopting traditional weight-loss advice and banishing from the house Ben & Jerry's Cake Mix, she packed her freezer with it, storing 10 pints, and encouraging herself to enjoy it. She did a number at first-a number. Yet the tasty food sat up unchanged after a few months."It lost its sparkle," she added. "I realized at that point that Ice cream — or any diet — no longer had any harmful effect on me."

Jill is among the growing number of people who turn back to traditional diets. We use what critics have called a no-diet method to make do with food and its weight. Their ranks include Oprah Winfrey, who, after reading People, Health, and Christ by Geneen Roth, announced she will never diet again, and Smash host Katharine McPhee, who cites this technique to help her rebound from bulimia. These people follow what is called intuitive eating; that is, they eat only when they are thirsty, they don't feel bad for food and they consume anything their body tells them. And it works: according to studies at Brigham Young University, people who ranked high on an intuitive-eating scale not only reported less food insecurity and more feeding satisfaction, they also had lower BMIs.


When you avoid relying too much on consuming less, you are going to consume less probably. It's a revolutionary idea but desperate times warrant urgent action. "Dieting doesn't lead to weight reduction that continues for most individuals," says Traci Mann, Ph.D., University of Minnesota professor of psychology. She noticed that most people recover all the pounds they lost in the most thorough study of weight-loss trials to date, and as many as two-thirds put on still more. Not surprising, if you know that chronic diet will influence the psychology of a person — for example, trigger moodiness or discomfort about food, says Janet Policy, Ph.D., University of Toronto professor of psychology. Dieters tend to get hyper, both before and after their diet starts.

You can't change how you see food immediately, sadly. "It's a trip," says Barbara Meyer, Ph.D., Fox Run's Green Mountain program owner, a nondieting retreat for women on weight loss. "For a long time people have warped experiences with food; dieting disconnects you from the way food makes the body sound." But over the practice, you will get to a healthier position. Only look at Jill's unorthodox work on ice cream. Basically, it's a well-known no-diet solution term, named habituation; Jill ended up losing 50 pounds — without attempting!"I eat better as I know that when I do, I have more time and digestion," she says. "My relationship with food and my body is calmer, and that's just a side effect of weight loss. That makes me feel very good."

Jill 's success has made us wonder, can the strategy of habituations work for anyone? Are there any other no-diet techniques that sound like psychobabble but are actually getting results? We sent three women to find out about the movement's experts at the forefront. The aim: to resolve stubborn eating habits by attempting two weeks of anti-diet techniques.

Anti-Dieting Strategies, Tested

"The cookies I can't keep in the house."
Michelle Arteaga, 41, of Novato, California, is keen to make her son's cookies. What is it that would deter her? Fear of the whole lot becoming engulfed. "I will stop but I have finished consuming them all," she says. "I even dropped cookies down the garbage disposal when I was so out of control. Why can't I eat only one or two of them like a normal person?"

Anti-diet strategy: Habituations Traditional weight-loss theory suggests removing food from the house would keep it out of your stomach. Yet advocates of anti-diet claim the very opposite: a food loses its control over you because it is available 24-7. "In reality, some people learn that they do not like it as well as they anticipated," says Evelyn Tribole, RD, the author of Intuitive Food. Hold the kryptonite at home for two weeks and test something out. In the case of Michelle, that meant constantly filling her cookie jar of homemade chocolate chip cookies and baking a fresh batch anytime it fell short.

Real-world results: Michelle says: "I was confident that I had an insatiable craving for sweets, but the first day I granted myself permission to consume as much as I could, I was shocked that I was happy after only three. By the fourth day, the sweets seemed less enticing, and now they don't seem as intimidating as they were before.


"At meals, I over-eat."
New York City's Gabby Meyerson, 29, is a lifelong member of the Clean plate club. "I'm a good eater in general but I love food. I just don't know when to quit," she says.

Anti-diet strategy: Pace feeding "When we feed, we prefer to ingest the whole lot. It's not that it takes some time for the brain to realize that the stomach is full," says Pavel Somov, Ph.D., a psychologist from Pittsburgh and author of Consuming the Moment. The optimal remedy is the following technique: divide the portion into two, consume the first part, and set a timer for a five-minute break. Close your eyes, rhythm your body and ask yourself: Am I really hungry? Do I feel happy? Next, open your eyes and see the moment: What am I smelling? What does the remaining food look like? Then eat the rest of the meal, if you are still hungry. If you are happy, don't. Have a slow, mindful one, if you're full but yearn for another taste.

Real-world results: Gabby says: "It was weird at first to only sit there with food in front of me, particularly when I ate with my husband. Then I grew accustomed to checking in with my body instead of immediately washing my plate. It turned out that I need a lot fewer food than I expected. Often I'm full during the five-minute break and I don't need much more. I just like my meals instead of inhaling them.

"While eating, I do multitask."
Amanda Betts, 28, from Vancouver, British Columbia, is a busy bee who performs many items at a time. "I can write, work on my phone, read or watch television while I sleep," she said. "I still feel depressed and sometimes hungry right after a meal." Anti-diet strategy: Quiet meal Once a week, guests at the Green Mountain weight-loss retreat have a 40-minute lunch without any talk, music or interruption of any kind. The idea is that when you're silent without noise it's better to perceive your inner appetite and satiety signals.

 "It's a profound eye-opener for many women because they realize they don't listen to their bodies when they eat," says Meyer. Here's a quick how-to: First, warn your family so they won't think you're mad at them. Then, unplug from technology. Set a timer to go off every few minutes as a reminder to pause and check-in with yourself; put down your fork and take a few mindful breaths, noticing if you're satisfied or still hungry. From there, decide whether or not to stop eating.

Real-world results: Amanda says: "I normally have dinner with my husband. Cooking in quiet was a bit odd since we're both accustomed to talking at dinner. But when I had eaten alone, I just concentrated on the meal — how it smelled, how it felt, and how full or thirsty I was — I found it to be more flavourful, so it was quick to tell if I was happy.

Start Anti-Dieting

These four simple strategies will help you get started with the anti-diet. Sure, they seem to go against everything you've heard about weight loss, but experts say that's exactly the point.

Use your senses.
Using all five senses, and not just taste is a simple way to be more careful while feeding. "It brings you more satisfaction from feeding, and you wind up getting more fulfilled," says Lilian Cheung, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Savor's co-author: Mindful Diet, Mindful Life. Avoid feeding on autopilot, and appreciate every bite. Aim at the plate's shades, then inhale the scent. Listen to the stir-fry's sizzle or the carrot snap. Experience the flavor of this smooth Greek yogurt.

ID thy hunger.
"Give yourself the absolute permission to eat when you're hungry," says Intuitive Eating author Evelyn Tribole, RD. But be assured it's the physical kind of stomach-rumbling. Ask yourself, "What am I hungry for?" If you're bored, sad, or a celebratory feeling, it's not the food you crave.

Table the labels.
Research in the journal Appetite showed that one in four dieters marks products with the words remorse or no remorse, as opposed to one in 25 nondieters. Psychoanalyst Joyce Munter, a coauthor of Overcoming Overeating, claims that part of what causes you to overeat ice cream or chips is a reliance on the allure of unhealthy products. Seek to treat both products as fair. This requires practice, says Munter, but mind your new way of thought when you find yourself believing that Brownie's means evil, and that grape is fine.
Slow down.
Sit at the table when you are feeding to let the food last at least 20 minutes, instead of inhaling the snack. It's easier to interpret the signs of hunger and fullness in your body when you go late. Need evidence? In research published in the American Dietetic Association Magazine, people ate less when they put down their utensils between bites and chewed each mouthful 20 to 30 times, but they recorded feeling fuller.

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