There continues to be daily disagreement about what we should be eating if we want to lose weight. On social media this disagreement is at times vitriolic, whether that’s lay people attacking journalists for critiquing fad diets or academics slugging it out on twitter.
None of this in my opinion helps those of us who are confused by the contradictory dietary advice, and to some people that really, really matters. Like Tim, who emailed me recently saying “I am getting confused by the advice I am getting from my dietitian and my GP. One is telling not to eat fruit and to stick to a high protein diet and the other is telling me to eat what I want to eat. Trouble is what I want to eat is not good for me and high protein is expensive in some cases.” Here we have two highly trained professionals giving different advice. I don’t know much nutritional training Tim’s GP has, but medical training has historically included very little (something that is now changing) so it’s likely that his dietitian is giving more up-to-date evidence-based advice. Having said that, some GPs are highly trained and experienced in nutrition.
Whilst the battle about what to eat rages on, as it looks like doing for many years yet (unless David Katz’s book “The Truth about Food” is able to calm things down), my suggestion as a psychologist is to look at your basic eating patterns and habits, and if you’re unhappy with your weight or with how you eat, focus on changing them one at a time. This is one of the central themes of Appetite Retraining (the others are learning to eat in tune with your body’s natural huger and fullness signals and identifying and overcoming mental blocks or saboteurs). I’ve made a short video about Appetite Retraining to explain the overall approach, which is here.
I don’t advise you on what to eat, because I’m not qualified to do that. But research labs all over the world are making important discoveries about the psychology of eating and appetite. And I’m excited about how these studies can help us all to make achievable and sustainable changes to how we eat. So that we develop (or re-discover) a happier, more comfortable relationship with food than many of us have now.
Telling you about new developments in the psychology of eating and appetite is what my newsletter is all about. If you know anyone who’d like to receive the regular newsletter, they can sign up here.
In the coming weeks I’ll be telling you about exciting new developments for Appetite Retraining, so watch this space! As ever, if you have a particular question about the psychology of eating and appetite do send it firstname.lastname@example.org and if it’s something that will be of interest to others and that I can write about, I’ll write a blog article on it. I can’t offer individual advice in this way though.