What Recovery From Dieting Looks Like

By Jean Antonello, RN, BSN, obesity and eating disorders specialist and author of The Great Big Diet Lie, How to Become Naturally Thin® by Eating More, Breaking Out of Food Jail and Naturally Thin® Kids,

I have confidence in those who earnestly decide to break away from dieting and all its physical and psychological destruction and put these principles to the test. I believe in them. I believe that, as they take all the determination and will power they’ve used as dieters and apply these strengths to recovery, they will learn to be responsible keepers of their bodies. I believe overweight people have the right to eat like normal human beings without criticism or judgment. I believe some have the patience to wait for their bodies to adjust to the important changes they are making and let go of extra weight. I also believe they have the discipline and intelligence it takes to work with their bodies towards recovery. And, I believe they can stand up to the diet-crazed society we live in and spread the good news that there is a way out.

Some who learn about adaptation principles wonder how I can trust overweight people without putting limits on food. Won’t they just eat and eat, they wonder. And they are wondering about themselves too. It is hard for most dieters to accept that they have built-in controls for food intake, and that they have the ability to gradually manage their eating downward towards weight loss. So at first, they are actually intimidated by the lack of restrictions. Some are afraid of the freedom, and anxious that they will never be able to learn to eat less food in a sane and safe way.

I have found that those in recovery who do the best, who break away from the diet lifestyle the quickest, who find the rhythm and comfort of recovery fastest, are those who grab hold of these principles and stay focused on their job. They don’t look for someone else to lead. They don’t hope for dramatic changes in their weight because they know it doesn’t work that way. They realize that this new life is simply offered and must be consistently and happily applied over years—in fact for a lifetime. They accept that there is no other way and certainly no better way that lasts.

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