By Marisa Peer
I have struggled with my weight all my life. However, my mother used food to show love to her children, so that has led me to comfort eat whenever I am upset.
Despite trying every diet under the sun and joining weight-loss communities, as soon as I reach my target weight and stop dieting, I balloon back up and often end up heavier than I was. And whenever I have a problem to deal with, I head straight to the kitchen cupboards in search of something sweet.
Losing weight seems even harder as I get older. I am approaching my 60th birthday and would love to reach my perfect weight and never have to worry about dieting again. Is that even possible?
I am so excited to hear your thoughts.
The Yo-Yo Dieter
Dear Yo-Yo Dieter,
Let me begin by answering your question about achieving your optimal weight and keeping to it for the rest of your life. The answer is yes, and this would be a great gift to yourself in your 60th year. No more diets, a new, confident you, and a healthy relationship with food.
Having helped hundreds of clients of all ages who have spent most of their lives dieting get away from this cycle, I have created a program called Dietless Life, which means anyone can access my approach.
One of the biggest problems is that most diets don’t address the root cause of overeating or bingeing on sugar. This means, like you, that even when people reach their desired weight, they still have an unhealthy attitude toward food and often put their weight back on and more besides.
What I do is pinpoint where in their life someone developed an issue with food — it’s usually something people have held onto since their childhood or adolescence but can happen at any stage in life involving a trauma.
For example, you mentioned that your mother showed love for you and your siblings through food, which is often behind what I call emotional eaters.
You have conditioned yourself to think of food as a loving gesture, so comfort eating is a way of self-medicating when something makes you feel bad opting for sugary foods or carbohydrates as they provide an instant rush. It will always be an issue until you learn to separate emotions from eating.
In my work, I have discovered that most people fall into one of eight types of eater, which can help identify the approach to take when addressing overeating.
The eight types of eaters
Eat quickly and on the go, trapped in a cycle of empty-calorie eating with a diet fueled by sugary foods, caffeine, fast food, fizzy drinks, white bread, pasta and rice.
Eat when they feel stressed, tense or to push down feelings, often turning to crunchy foods like crisps, apples, crusty bread which they can chew and chomp on to relieve tension because stress receptors in the jaw release relaxing feelings when chewing, producing an instant mood lifter.
Seem hungrier more often than other people with a “need” for food, so find themselves in a cycle of endless eating. Will often focus on treating themselves with cake, biscuits, pizza and crisps.
Feel the need to stop themselves from having a slim, attractive body, eat big portions, frequent meals and unhealthy snacks such as cakes, biscuits and crisps. They like the power of being able to gorge on them, knowing it’s their choice.
Use comfort foods, sugary snacks, and carbohydrates such as biscuits, fizzy drinks and bread to self-medicate, even when they’re not hungry — often bingeing on them secretly to suppress feelings such as boredom, anxiety and loneliness.
Use food to celebrate at any opportunity. Need more of everything — more textures, tastes, and sides with every meal. As they add so much variety, the body’s natural instinct to stop eating isn’t triggered, so they don’t feel full and know when to stop.
Will eat at any opportunity and finish everything in front of them, often at speed. Find comfort in routine, turning to the same convenience foods and snacks such as cereal bars and biscuits out of habit, whether they are hungry or not.
Misinformed about what constitutes healthy eating, they see carbs such as pasta, bread and cereals as fine, but anything with a high-fat content as the enemy. As a result, many may eat convenience foods/ready meals/diet foods and drinks, believing that low-fat or sugar-free means they are better for you.
To help you progress in your weight loss challenge, I include a link to some of my most popular audios based around eating types. Choose the one you think sounds most relevant to you and by using the code ARIZONAEE100 you’ll be able to download this audio free.
If you need further support, why not learn more about my Dietless Life 12-week program. It costs less than a year’s membership to a diet club, and you don’t have to work to stick to it as it will stick to you, so you’ll never go on another diet again. This is how it should be as constant dieting lowers your resting metabolic rate until the more you diet the harder it is to lose weight. My program helps to reset your metabolism, your digestion and your relationship with food so you become a selective eater who prefers healthy food in the right amounts.
I wish you every success and a happy 60th birthday.