Dr. Ramani

Dr. Ramani discusses the challenges the group will face once the program ends and how to confront them.

on Oct 18, 2010

Relapse -- Moderation and ongoing weight loss and maintenance -- Disordered eating

Disordered Eating: Fear of food, restriction of food, dyscontrolled eating and compensatory behaviors (excessive exercise, or even more dangerous methods such as purging) are observed in people who develop dysfunctional relationships with food.  And this is not uncommon in dieters. 

Relapse: Falling off the clean eating wagon and going back to old habits. This is also not uncommon in dieters (these are the yo-yo dieters). 

Moderation: Maintaining the clean eating, exercise, sustainable weight losses of a few pounds per week and then long term maintenance. And obviously this is what we want. 

The psychologist and alcoholism researcher Dr. Alan Marlatt wrote about something called the "Abstinence Violation Effect." I call it "The Hell with it Hypothesis." Basically, when we give up something that is as addictive as food and put new habits in place, sometimes we slip and eat a "forbidden" food. The right thing to do is to walk away, treat it as a lapse, and start anew. However, it is common for people to eat that forbidden food and then say, "the hell with it." I already ate half of the slice of cheesecake, I might as well go for it and the bad feeling that accompanies "violating" their dietary abstinence can lead to giving up on clean eating and healthy living entirely. For our gang forbidden "dirty" foods may be a signal to overeat (Shay and her ice cream, Joe and his cheeseburgers). The real trick if Shay slips with a dish of ice cream is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and really focus on the clean eating the next day.