Dieting, Personal Readiness and…Neuroscience?

A client sent me a link to this TED talk yesterday following a therapy session.  During the session, we had a chat about it.  My client said “it was amazing how I just felt something ‘click’ when I listened to this talk, she has a really good graph that shows how just four healthy habits deliver the same benefits for everyone – ‘normal’ weight, ‘over’ weight and obese…. and the Set Point thing is really interesting..”

I smiled at her, and said ‘Does it ring any bells?  The download article from session 1 of the online program you did? Or the chat we had about engaging in forms of exercise you like, and enjoy, for health, flexibility for your back, and reducing (other symptoms)?’

‘Well, yes’ she said, ‘ I know we’ve talked about all these things before, in different ways, but it was just… whatever way she presented it, it all suddenly came together for me’.

So here’s the thing.  I work with clients individually, in both a “coaching” and “therapy” format.  Coaching covers education, about food, diets, nutrition, and tools or strategies to use to reduce bingeing, eat in a more balanced way, challenge food rules etc.  We also cover exercise – why we do it, what meaning it has, how it can work for us or against it.   Therapy covers the deeper stuff, what the food represents, how we hide behind eating disorders, or actual fat/weight, how the disordered eating behaviours began and how to change the way clients deal with stress, and difficult feelings.

Throughout all of this work, clients often continue to binge, gain weight, diet, lose some weight, start again.  I suppose you could say that although we can be working on lots of elements in the therapy room, once the client leaves the room, they often don’t ‘join the dots’ in a way that brings about meaningful change, for some time.

Sometimes it takes another source of information, whether it is a personal story, or a professional presentation, paper or book, to draw all the strings together and deliver that ‘aha’ moment that every therapist waits for.   For my client, it was this TED talk.  See what you think.

TED talk by Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt, sharing her personal experience and professional knowledge on why diets don’t work: