When I contacted Barbara L. Holtzman, psychotherapist and author of Conscious Eating, Conscious Living; A Practical Guide to Making Peace with Food & Your Body, I asked her if she had any thoughts on healing eating disorders naturally. After Ms. Holtzman logged on to EmpowHER.com and saw, as she said, “… the good work … we were doing,” she gave me permission to use two of her papers.
According to Ms. Holtzman’s paper Making Peace with Food & Your Body, “Diets don’t work.” Holtzman goes on to explain the three different types of diets and how each causes the dieter to fail and possibly to develop an eating disorder. Holtzman wrote, “Diets that eliminate the food you love and want set up an urge to binge as a rebellion against feeling deprived.” Certainly these types of diets could lead to bulimia and binge eating disorders.
Of the second class of diets, Holtzman writes, “Diets that dictate what to eat and when to eat keep us reliant on external cues rather than responding to our body’s needs for food.” Not being able to eat what you want or when your body is naturally hungry is the best recipe for failure. How many times can dieters fight the urge to eat what they want when they feel hungry? Obesity is one obvious outcome.
The third types of diets are the most dangerous. Holtzman describes them as “Diets that severely restrict the quantity of food turn a weight loss diet into a maintenance diet as the body’s metabolism changes to prevent what it believes is starvation.” Of course these diets could result in anorexia nervosa, the most deadly of all eating disorders.
So what’s the alternative? How can we keep our weight in a healthy range and also feel satisfied? Well, Holtzman lists ten ways, but of these she said the most important one in today’s frantic world is to “Practice conscious eating. Slow down your eating and enjoy each bite to the fullest; you will enjoy it more and be satisfied with less.” There is ancient wisdom in these words.
In fact, a wise old woman once told me something similar. She said, “When you eat, just eat!