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Old 12-05-05, 02:07 PM   #1
scottogo
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The No Diet Diet

Professor Loses Weight With No-Diet Diet
By BROCK VERGAKIS, Associated Press Writer
Sun Dec 4, 5:17 PM ET

From Yahoo News and The Associated Press
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051204/...BhBHNlYwM5NjQ-

When Steven Hawks is tempted by ice cream bars, M&Ms and toffee-covered almonds at the grocery store, he doesn't pass them by. He fills up his shopping cart.

It's the no-diet diet, an approach the Brigham Young University health science professor used to lose 50 pounds and to keep it off for more than five years.

Hawks calls his plan "intuitive eating" and thinks the rest of the country would be better off if people stopped counting calories, started paying attention to hunger pangs and ate whatever they wanted.

As part of intuitive eating, Hawks surrounds himself with unhealthy foods he especially craves. He says having an overabundance of what's taboo helps him lose his desire to gorge.

There is a catch to this no-diet diet, however: Intuitive eaters only eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full.

That means not eating a box of chocolates when you're feeling blue or digging into a big plate of nachos just because everyone else at the table is.

The trade-off is the opportunity to eat whatever your heart desires when you are actually hungry.

"One of the advantages of intuitive eating is you're always eating things that are most appealing to you, not out of emotional reasons, not because it's there and tastes good," he said. "Whenever you feel the physical urge to eat something, accept it and eat it. The cravings tend to subside. I don't have anywhere near the cravings I would as a 'restrained eater.'"

Hawks should know. In 1989, the Utah native had a job at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and wanted to return to his home state. But at 210 pounds, he didn't think a fat person could get a job teaching students how to be healthy, so his calorie-counting began.

He lost weight and got the job at Utah State University. But the pounds soon came back.

For several years his weight fluctuated, until he eventually gave up on being a restrained eater and the weight stayed on.

"You definitely lose weight on a diet, but resisting biological pressures is ultimately doomed," Hawks said.

Several years later and still overweight at a new job at BYU, Hawks decided it was time for a lifestyle change.

He stopped feeling guilty about eating salt-and-vinegar potato chips. He also stopped eating when he wasn't hungry.

Slowly and steadily his weight began to drop. Exercise helped.

His friends and co-workers soon took notice of the slimmer Hawks.

"It astonished me, actually," said his friend, Steven Peck. "We were both very heavy. It was hard not to be struck."

After watching Hawks lose and keep the weight off for a year and a half, Peck tried intuitive eating in January.

"I was pretty skeptical of the idea you could eat anything you wanted until you didn't feel like it. It struck me as odd," said Peck, who is an assistant professor at BYU.

But 11 months later, Peck sometimes eats mint chocolate chip ice cream for dinner, is 35 pounds lighter and a believer in intuitive eating.

"There are times when I overeat. I did at Thanksgiving," Peck said. "That's one thing about Steve's ideas, they're sort of forgiving. On other diets if you slip up, you feel you've blown it and it takes a couple weeks get back into it. ... This sort of has this built-in forgiveness factor."

The one thing all diets have in common is that they restrict food, said Michael Goran, an obesity expert at the University of Southern California. Ultimately, that's why they usually fail, he said.

"At some point you want what you can't have," Goran said. Still, he said intuitive eating makes sense as a concept "if you know what you're doing."

Intuitive eating alone won't give anyone six-pack abs, Hawks said, but it will lead to a healthier lifestyle. He still eats junk food and keeps a jar of honey in his office, but only indulges occasionally.

"My diet is actually quite healthy. ... I'm as likely to eat broccoli as eat a steak," he said. "It's a misconception that all of a sudden a diet is going to become all junk food and high fat," he said.

In a small study published in the American Journal of Health Education, Hawks and a team of researchers examined a group of BYU students and found those who were intuitive eaters typically weighed less and had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than other students.

He said the study indicates intuitive eating is a viable approach to long-term weight management and he plans to do a larger study across different cultures. Ultimately, he'd like intuitive eating to catch on as a way for people to normalize their relationship with food and fight eating disorders.

"Most of what the government is telling us is, we need to count calories, restrict fat grams, etc. I feel like that's a harmful message," he said. "I think encouraging dietary restraint creates more problems. I hope intuitive eating will be adopted at a national level."
___

On the Net:
National Institute for Intuitive Eating http://www.intuitiveeating.com
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Old 12-05-05, 03:25 PM   #2
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Interesting. I'd couple it with writing down everything eaten and double checking the overall total calorie count once in a while.
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Old 12-05-05, 05:35 PM   #3
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I've run into proponents of this before. I wonder how applicable it is for athletes, because I have no appetite in the AM before group rides/races, no appetite during, and very little after. But the following day I could down 6000 calories if I let myself. While this might even out numbers wise, it would negativly affect my performance.
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Old 12-06-05, 07:02 AM   #4
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Interesting article.

I think that the diet can work on people who have 'normal' attitudes towards food. But most overweight people don't. For example, a lot of people use eating to fill a void in their lives, the feeling of having the stomach stuffed is comforting.

In developed countries most people have really no idea what is hunger and the difference between 'full' and 'stuffed'. Food is so abundant that people eat when they are not hungry and continue to eat beyond being full.

All I am saying is that food is more than just simple calories for most people. The no-diet diet can only work for well balanced people who don't associate food with other things.
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Old 12-06-05, 11:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plin
Interesting article.

I think that the diet can work on people who have 'normal' attitudes towards food. But most overweight people don't. For example, a lot of people use eating to fill a void in their lives, the feeling of having the stomach stuffed is comforting.

In developed countries most people have really no idea what is hunger and the difference between 'full' and 'stuffed'. Food is so abundant that people eat when they are not hungry and continue to eat beyond being full.

All I am saying is that food is more than just simple calories for most people. The no-diet diet can only work for well balanced people who don't associate food with other things.
Right, its called self control (i.e. eat only when hungry). Just like any diet, if you don't have it you are going to eat too much or the wrong stuff.

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Old 12-06-05, 03:40 PM   #6
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I would be picky somewhat on what I ate because of how some foods are filling and how others aren't. Other then that I live by this idea too.
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Old 12-06-05, 05:58 PM   #7
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It's an interesting concept that may have worked for its proponent but there are too many factors that haven't been assessed to say it can work for many other people. One of the main reasons that people become obese is that the body looses its sense of balance and your normal feedback mechanisms that tell you that you are full don't work so you keep on eating. Insulin and leptin play important roles here.

Personaly I think that the poor nutritional status of refined foods plays a role. Your body simply isn't getting enough nutrition as opposed to calories from refined food so your body keeps on sending signals that your hungry. My weight has been stable for a long while while eating a high fat diet but recently I've been losing the weight easily and I partly put this down to consuming a LOT of home made bone broth/stock. This broth is VERY rich in minerals in a form thats easy for the body to absorb and so I beleive that my high nutrient status is satisfying my hunger.

Regards, Anthony
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