Dieting & Intuitive Eating: Q&A with Expert Golda Poretsky
Today, I’m thrilled to present my interview with Golda Poretsky. If you remember, Golda owns and operates Body Love Wellness and she helps people love their bodies and ditch the diet mentality.
I think she’s a wonderful person who’s doing fantastic work. I’ve referred to her work countless times here on Weightless (umm, just this week!). And her free teleclasses are awesome.
Golda’s book, Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal, was recently published (I actually talked about it here), and below we talked all about that, the myths about dieting and intuitive eating and letting go of the diet mentality. I think the book provides tons of great insight – reasons that I would’ve never even thought of – and very valuable tips.
Q: Please tell us a bit about your book.
A: My book is called Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal. It’s the perfect book for anyone who’s been feeling like they want to stop dieting and want some solid reasons to stop.
The book includes 25 reasons to stop dieting, which range from emotional reasons to physical reasons to societal reasons. And with each reason, there’s a tip that they can try to support them in breaking free from dieting.
Q: What inspired you to write it?
A: Last year, on International No Diet Day, I wrote a short list of 16 reasons not to diet and posted it on my blog. It got picked up by a bunch of places and really seemed to strike a chord with my readers.
And it really makes sense. We live in a culture where, in America alone, people spend $60 billion a year on diets. And much of that money gets spent by the diet companies in convincing us that diets are good for us and worth doing. So it’s hard to get real facts about why diets are actually really bad for us, even though, intuitively, many dieters know that already.
So I wanted to write a book that you could slip in your purse and show to diet-pushing friends, or leaf through when you wanted to remind yourself of why you’re never going back to that Weight Watcher’s meeting again. I also wanted to write something that could really support the book’s readers in moving away from dieting and toward intuitive eating and body acceptance.
Q: What are the most common myths about dieting that you continue to see?
A: I think the two biggest myths are that dieting works and that it’s healthy. The reality is that for the huge majority of people (between 85 and 95 percent, depending on the study) dieting just doesn’t work in the long term.
Most people see some weight loss in the beginning, sometimes even a significant amount, and then it just comes back on within 3 to 5 years. Not only that, most people end up at a higher weight than when they started the process. So not only does dieting make you gain more weight, you end up feeling like a failure for gaining it back and usually end up with some food and eating issues as a result.
This whole process is also not “healthy” by any stretch of the imagination. There’s no evidence to show that whatever health benefits thinner people have are bestowed upon fatter people when they lose weight. And because nearly every diet is, by definition, a yo-yo diet, you get mainly the bad effects of dieting, from cardiovascular issues to suppressed immune response. So the myth that dieting is somehow a healthy choice is really and truly a myth.
Q: What kinds of challenges do you encounter when promoting intuitive eating?
A: I think some people have the impression that intuitive eating is about eating everything in sight. People have this strange impression that, if left to their own devices, they will eat only Entenmann’s sheet cake for the rest of their lives. And it’s really normal to feel that way when you’re used to dieting, because you truly believe that if you’re not given parameters about what you eat then you’ll never stop eating.
In reality, it’s just the opposite. When you give yourself permission to eat, without guilt, food doesn’t have the same power over you. It may take a few days, or weeks, or months, but things even out, and then you can actually hear that voice inside you that tells you what you need, and that voice has an extensive amount of wisdom.
Also, for me and the way I work, intuitive eating is not about weight loss. Some of the greatest writers on intuitive eating get a lot of it right until they talk about weight loss. Weight loss can result from intuitive eating, but it’s not a sure thing. And when you try to eat intuitively with the goal of weight loss, you lose your bearings. You’re going to second guess your internal wisdom if you think what it tells you is not aligned with your weight loss goals.
So it’s important to work with intuitive eating for its own sake. You have to enjoy the way it allows you to have peace in your relationship with food. You have to enjoy the fact that you are connecting with your body and feeding your body what it wants. You have to appreciate the fact that you’re able to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. These are real gifts and not to be taken lightly.
Q: If someone wants to break free from dieting, what would be the first few steps they should take?
A: I would love to say, do X, then Y, then Z and you’re done, but depending on what your life looks like, how many diets you’ve done, how entrenched dieting is in your thinking, etc., it’s really somewhat individual.
It’s key that you go slow, practice listening to your body, and allow yourself to make choices even if they feel wrong in retrospect.
I would also really recommend getting support with it, because it’s a huge mindset shift. I provide a free Food Mood Transformation Session that I would really recommend. It’s free, and I can help assess the next steps on an individual basis.
Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about dieting or your book?
Golda, thank you so much for your wise words, as always!
A Few Things
An interesting survey: Last week I was interviewed for an MSNBC article about a body image survey (unfortunately, my quotes got cut). Basically their results revealed that 60 percent of the people surveyed are happy with their bodies. I was curious to get your thoughts on the findings. Let me know what you think about the findings and the article below!
A documentary: I recently received an email from a TV producer that I wanted to share with you. Nina Corbett, a development casting producer for Pie Town Productions, is looking for individuals with body dysmorphic disorder for a documentary. She says that “Our intent is to produce a thoughtful and respectful series that will lead to a greater understanding and sensitivity about this disorder.”
They’re basically going to feature interviews with individuals and tape them in their everyday lives and therapy sessions. Interviews will also be done with the therapist treating the person.
These are the participants they’d like to interview:
– Patients between 18-30 years of age. Although, we are open to people outside of this age range.
– Located anywhere in the U.S. (We will travel to them.)
– Willing to share their story with us, on camera. We would also like to see them in their daily lives.
– Must be undergoing treatment or willing to do so.
If you’re interested, you can contact Nina at [email protected]. She’s happy to answer any questions you might have. I will say that if you’re thinking about this, definitely talk it over with your therapist.
Tartakovsky, M. (2010). Dieting & Intuitive Eating: Q&A with Expert Golda Poretsky. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2010/09/dieting-intuitive-eating-qa-with-expert-golda-poretsky/