Are you feeling unhappy and frustrated because you have gone through numerous diet programs that just don’t seem to work? If you answered, “yes” then a non-diet approach to weight management might be the plan for you. To help understand what type of impact dieting programs can have on your overall life and how a non-diet approach to weight management can help you, I have interviewed therapist Marlene Zerweck, MFT.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an ACE-certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant. I treat clients with a variety of concerns, most of which in some way impact their overall quality of life and their relationships. I have a special interest in weight management because I see it as a source of shame and sorrow in many of my clients and something that negatively impacts both their quality of life and view of self.”
What type of impact can dieting have on a person’s overall life?
“Dieting can become all-consuming, similar to addiction or any other compulsive behavior. People start a diet hopeful that this will be the “one” that leads them to weight loss success. When they fail, which is often inevitable, they feel powerless, sad and defeated. They often blame themselves for not sticking with it or for being weak and out of control. This thinking leads to shame and self-loathing. To make things worse, society as a whole seems to have little sympathy for those who seem to lack will power, especially those who have problems with food and managing their weight.”
What are some great non-diet approaches someone could take to manage their weight?
“I see weight problems as a symptom leading to a much deeper problem or concern. Viewed in that light, it is important to try and identify how the individual uses food and the purpose it serves. To do this the individual needs to try and identify the different types of hunger, i.e. physical, emotional, or mental, and to recognize what part of me is really hungry. They need to learn skills that will allow them self-insight and to try a new approach, the approach of kindness and self-love as they work to discover what is really going on and why they are using food as a coping strategy.”
What type of professional help is available for someone who is interested in a non-diet approach to weight management?
“I would recommend that they consult with a professional who is trained in the area of weight management. There are a number of counselors and therapists who specialize in this area and who could assist them on their journey.”
What last advice would you like to give to someone who wants to better manage his or her weight?
“Be kind to yourself and try to discover what you are really hungry for? Before you eat, stop, be still and see if food is what you really need or if you are just trying to avoid a thought, situation or feeling. Find other things, aside from eating, that fill you up and bring you joy (e.g. nature, recreation, friends, gardening, reading, etc.). Don’t be afraid to ask for help and try to find someone that you can trust and with whom you feel safe and connected.”
Thank you Marlene for doing the interview on how someone can take a non-diet approach to weight management. For more information on Marlene Zerweck or her work you can check out her website on www.marlenezerweck.com.
How to Overcome Poor Body Image
Healthy Weight Loss Tips