For many years, weight loss has been a matter of willpower and vigilance.
If you wanted a smaller figure it meant practically living on the bathroom scale and taking note of every single calorie that you ate.
Success or failure was measured according to decreasing numbers.
This behavior, while proudly toted by diet and weight loss experts and programs, has had a remarkably negative effect on the self-esteem and happiness of a lot of people.
And now it's looking like this approach may not even be as effective as once thought.
According to research recently published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, removing ALL dietary rules and restrictions did not inhibit subjects from losing weight.
Get back to basics with intuitive eating! pic.twitter.com/6AVZQOsnEX
— Udo's Choice UK (@UdosChoiceUK) October 15, 2014
Not only were people able to maintain or lose weight, researchers found the individuals had a healthier relationship with food overall, increased self-esteem and positive body image.
Why is it that throwing out the widely held beliefs about weight loss allowed individuals to achieve their goals or be happier about themselves?
Probably because out with the rules went unrealistic body standards and body-shaming rhetoric that emphasized looks over health.
And THAT is what keeps individuals unhappy with themselves and their weight, therefore feeding an unhealthy cycle that gets them nowhere.
Consider a healthy at every size (HAES) approach to weight loss, where your primary focus is your overall health and happiness.
Above all, don't beat yourself up about what you eat or don't eat.
While this study suggests intuitive eating is the way to go, for some people it may really not be enough. If you suspect you have an addiction, it's still a good idea to seek advice and possible treatment.
Do you think this research shows that counting calories or constant self-weighing is ultimately useless? What works best for you?