You’ve realized that diets don’t work for binge eating, compulsive overeating, food addiction or emotional eating. You’ve been on a lot of diets and even though you lose weight, it doesn’t last. After many diets, you’ve come to the conclusion that there’s more to your food and body image issues than a diet can fix. You feel good about this insight. You may even be working towards taking steps to make peace with food and your body. But why can’t you stop thinking about dieting!

In this podcast, you will learn:

1. What do twin studies teach us about binge eating, food addiction and emotional eating?
2. Why one physician’s research led him to stop recommending the intermittent fasting diet.
3. How weight stigma can make binge eating, emotional eating and food addiction worse.


Mentioned on the Show:

If you’re interested in learning more about food addiction, enter the book sweepstakes to win a copy of The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook.

Schedule a free consult to discuss your food and body image issues:

To learn more about The Anchor Program a 12-week non-diet program offering ONLINE group and individual sessions for the treatment of binge eating, emotional eating, food addiction and compulsive overeating. Want to learn more about the Anchor Program?


Hi everybody, Dr. Carolyn here, and today is episode number 88 How to end those pesky dieting thoughts. So this is all about where many of you are, which is, you know, that diets don’t work. You’ve committed to changing your lifestyle, but somewhere in the back of your mind, you keep thinking about diets, or maybe you keep getting triggered to think about diets by friends who tell you about the latest diet that they’re on or whatever. So this dream of dieting is hard to get rid of. And I’m going to talk to you about why that is and what you can do about it. Stay tuned.

Welcome to the Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross show. I’m Dr. Carolyn and I’m a medical doctor who specializes in treating eating disorders and addictions. I’ve been working with individuals with binge-eating disorder, compulsive overeating, food addiction, and emotional eating for over 20 years. I’m also the founder of the anchor program and international, online non diet coaching program for people with food and body image issues that you can access from the comfort of your own home. Please check out my books, the emotional eating workbook, the binge eating and compulsive overeating workbook and my latest book, the food addiction recovery workbook, I’m on a mission to help individuals just like you transform your relationship with food and with your body.

So you realize that diets don’t work. You’ve been on a lot of diets. And even though you lose weight, it doesn’t last. And often you regain all your weight plus more. And so after many diets, you’ve come to the conclusion that there’s more to your food and body image issues than a diet can fix. And you feel good about this insight as well. You should, you may even be working towards taking steps to make peace with food and your body. So my question is, why can’t you stop thinking about dieting? Why do you keep having those thoughts about dieting? Well, here are some of the reasons I hear in clients in the anchor program and from other patients, number one is one thought maybe I could or should go on one last diet so I can, you know, see faster changes in my size. Number two, maybe now that I know more about myself and I have had so many insights into why I’m struggling with food and body image issues, a diet would be more likely to work. Number three, my doctor told me that I need to go on a diet and recommended a new diet. That’s worked for her. So said that I should try it. So the question is there ever a situation where diets work? Well, sadly, the simple answer to this is no, even though the diet industry posts thousands, millions, I could even say over the decades that I’ve been in this business of before and after pictures showing all the people who’ve lost weight on their particular diet plan, most depict, very short term results. No one is really going back one year, two years or five years after that, after picture to see how many people have kept their weight off and research studies for decades have shown that while many people lose five to 10% of their weight while dieting, these results do not last. So five to 10% of their weight. That’s if you’re, if you weight 200 pounds, that would be you losing 10 to 20 pounds.

So in a recent blog that I wrote on psychology today, I talked about the intermittent fasting diet, and I’ve also done a blog on the ketogenic diet on psychology today as well. But let me just talk about the intermittent fasting diet blog that I did and doing research for that blog. I read an article by a physician who was also a researcher at a large university, and he was a big proponent of the intermittent fasting diet. So he had been on the diet himself for a year and a half. He had recommended to all of his patients and so on, and now he was doing a research study on intermittent fasting. And what he found out from his research really surprised him. And he kept going back to the statisticians to question the data and the data kept coming back, showing that intermittent fasting was not effective or no more effective than any thing else.
So he said, “I had done intermittent fasting and become an advocate for it because it worked for me. He went on to say, that’s a good lesson, just because it works for me. Doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.” And that’s a good lesson for all of us to think about when you see that next ad for diet X, Y, Z, and someone saying it worked for me and you consciously or unconsciously think, oh, if worked for my best friend, or if it worked for that person on TV, if I had work for that celebrity, it must work for me. But the truth of the matter is what this physician researcher learned, which is just because it works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Now, despite the science, the dream of the perfect diet continues, it lives on. And you know, when this dream of finding the one good diet is really examined more closely, you may find that beneath it is the desire to fit in to no longer be the person who looks different from other people to be able to travel. This dream is a dream of belonging. And on that level, it is very understandable. Our society, stigmatizes people who are different, making them “other”. So when you think about having a dream of finding the magic diet, the perfect diet, ask yourself, what would really be different in your life. If that, if you did find the perfect diet and what it means to you, what this perfect diet would mean to you? Like, what is it a metaphor for? And maybe it’s a metaphor. Like I said, for the desire to fit in the desire to connect, to not be stigmatized, et cetera. Okay. So that’s kind of another way of looking at it. So we know that weight stigma is, is really rampant in our society. And study showed that if you’re exposed to weight stigmatizing news articles and social media, and you’re living in a larger body, it can lead you to consume more calories and feel less capable of controlling your eating, then exposure to non-stigmatizing articles, weight stigmatizing articles, also increased concerns about being a target of stigma among the same group. So many of the psychological effects that are routinely attributed to living in a larger body, such as low self-esteem, greater depression and anxiety and poor quality of life result more from the stigma faced by overweight individuals. Then from the weight itself. I think that bears repeating, if you don’t mind, I’m going to repeat it. The psychological effects that we routinely attribute to living in larger bodies, such as low self-esteem, greater depression, anxiety, and poor quality of life are really not from the number on the scale, but from the weight stigma that people living in larger bodies are facing.

Weight stigma is associated with several physical and psychological health consequences. So again, I did not say your weight is associated with physical and psychological health consequences. No. I said weight stigma is associated with these health consequences, including the risk for early death mood and anxiety disorders. So like depression and anxiety. And we think that there are four ways in which this link happens between weight stigma and health. One is when you’re stigmatized for your size, that causes a lot of stress in your life. It can also lead to dysregulation of eating and physical activity. You’re less likely to take care of yourself if you’re being stigmatized. Also the underutilization and avoidance of health care can be a result of weight stigma, because we know that healthcare providers are the number two cause of weight stigma with number one, being family and friends. And then finally weight stigma can also be associated with social disconnection and social disconnection you know, loneliness by itself, isolating by itself has caused a lot of health consequences that we know of. So there’s, you know, there’s this belief that if we shame people about their size, that will motivate them to, you know, do whatever quote unquote healthier behaviors or cause them to lose weight. But that’s false. I mean, it’s been, I’ve been in this eating disorder industry and seeing the trends for over 30 years, and I’ve never once seen shaming someone about their size causing them to do anything, to take care of themselves. And so, in fact, there’s actually a lot of evidence that weight stigmatizing experiences cause more weight gain over time. So that’s, that’s really important to think about. We know that, you know, any kind of weight based stigma, can also lead you to feel discriminated against and devalued rejected or stereotyped because of your size. And this, this then can either be something you experienced directly like being told by others that you should lose weight, or it could be a suspected such as wondering whether you didn’t get the job because of your weight or even anticipated such as when you first meet a potential dating partner, all of those are stress causing experiences. So whether it’s something you actually experienced, something you anticipate or something you suspect it can cause stress, and then it can lead to those physical and psychological health consequences.

So we know that I think everybody listening to this podcast by now knows that, uh, numerous studies have repeatedly shown that there are powerful biological controls over our individual body size. So what does that mean? I mean for you? Well, it means you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. Society’s messages have made people, people in larger bodies feel that are failures. They don’t have enough willpower or they’re too lazy to exercise. But if you look at studies on identical twins who have the exact same DNA, right, uh, let’s take identical twins who were separated at birth. Well, those twins separated at birth ended up with almost identical weights. Let’s also look at children who were adopted are almost always the same size as their biological parents, not their adoptive parents. So all of this information flies in the face of weight, stigma, that’s been promoted by our society and this overworked notion of all you need to do is eat less and exercise more. No, that’s, that’s not all we need to do. And that doesn’t work. So studies have shown that exposure to these, you know, these experiences of weight, stigma, really complicate things. And the bottom line is your size is not your fault and it’s nobody’s business.

Okay. So just a little on a personal note, you know, I was thin most of my life and then gained weight as I got older, due to some health situations that I encountered, uh, some changes in my metabolism. And I struggled with thinking, you know, just, okay, just do a cleanse and then just try eating more healthy or just change your lifestyle. And then that you’ll be able to get back to your former slim size. So I’m not immune. Um, you know, even though I know this information, I’m not immune to the dream of wanting to find the perfect diet that will give you the size that you wish you could be. But what I’ve come to realize in working with literally thousands of women and in my own personal experience is that the issue of body size is very complex and there is no one solution. For myself I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer want to spend time, money and wasted efforts trying to change my size. I decided just to get back into life, get back into enjoying my life, surround myself with people who are supportive and loving and then just let my body do what it does naturally.

So this may sound kind of weird to you, but I’m going to tell you about a dream. I had, I had a dream of being surrounded by people who were crazy about me, who loved me just as I am my size, my crotchety personality, my wisdom, my intellect, my faults might warts everything. They just loved me. It was the weirdest dream, but I remember thinking, oh my God, this feels so good. And there was really, I didn’t even have the fear that it would go away. I had no fear of being rejected or judged. It felt absolutely amazing. When I woke up, I realized there is no perfect world like that, but I can be grateful for those in my life currently, who love me. And I can continue to work harder to love and accept myself. Now there’s nothing wrong with you. If you’re tired of being stigmatized because of your sides, or if you to dream of being surrounded by unconditional love and acceptance, it’s only human to want to be treated with kindness and consideration. And even outright admiration. Someone once said to me, everyone can be a 10 in the right situation. And I keep finding that as I move through my life and my career, there are people who admire me, especially when I’m living from my passion, when I’m doing the work I love. And when I’m being true to myself, when I’m authentically being myself. And for me chasing that dream of the perfect diet takes me far, far away from being my authentic self. So until the dream that dream world comes true, I try to find inspiration in quotes like this one. This is by Nayyirah Waheed “And I said to my body softly, I want to be your friend. It took a long breath and replied. I have been waiting my whole life for this that’s” That’s what’s ahead of us if we began to leave behind that dream of finding the perfect diet and really focus on being authentically, who we are making peace with food and our bodies. So you don’t have to give up the of making peace with food and your body. That dream is achievable. I’ve put in the show links a link where you can schedule a free consult to discuss your individual food and body image issues, and maybe start your own journey to making peace with food in your body. I hope this was helpful. This is Dr. Carolyn signing off.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross Show. I want to remind you that we still have a sweepstakes going for a new, what you win in the sweepstakes is a free copy of my book, The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook. I’ll put a link in the show notes so that you can enter the sweepstakes. If you’d like, we’ve already given away two books and we have quite a few more left to give away. Please feel free to share this podcast and give us five stars. If you don’t mind, if you think it’s worth five stars, please join us next week for podcast number 89. And we’re going to be talking about binge eating disorder and ethnicity. So what does your ethnicity, the stress related to that have to do with binge eating disorder? We’ll also be talking about the strong black woman syndrome. So join us next time for podcast number 89 coming up soon. Thanks for listening.