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The end of dieting
The end of dieting
The Kerry Breuer story
For some, “eating right” is about learning how to put together a balanced diet. For others, including Kerry Breuer, a lab manager at the center for narcolepsy research, the educational component isn’t the issue. In her case, eating right means gaining control of her behavior and realizing that she is in the driver’s seat.
With so much attention focused on healthy eating, one would think that it is as simple as filling up on vegetables, fruits, lean meat and plenty of healthy carbohydrates. Breuer knew that, but found following through was another thing entirely.
Throughout the day, she would eat unhealthy food with the knowledge that these were bad choices. She says that she was “not mindful in the moment of her decisions.”
Then one day, Breuer decided to take charge of her weight, her stress and her energy levels after enrolling in “Stanford Behavior Change/Weight Management Program,” a 10-month course offered by Stanford’s Health Improvement Program. The course, taught by instructor Debbie Balfanz, was perfect for Breuer because it focused on setting small, incremental goals that were more attainable.
Breuer was instructed to stay consistent, but Balfanz also said, “If you fall off of your program, don’t let it get you down. Just get back on track and continue.” That was exactly what Breuer needed to hear, and that’s when she began to aim for a healthier lifestyle.
Knowing what to eat was not the main issue, Breuer realized — it was gaining control of her lifestyle and becoming mindful of her eating habits. For instance, like many people, she used food to cope with stress. But now, she walks or takes movement breaks throughout the day. She also makes it a point to buy healthy foods for work and home, including new ingredients that add an element of fun to her food.
She does most of her grocery shopping with a friend who supports her, and she shares her recipes with those around her. That social dimension, and seeing the impact she is having on others, is another source of motivation. Of her best friend, Breuer gushed, “She’s lost more weight than I have, and I am so proud of her!” Breuer chuckled when she recalled eating cake and ice cream at a recent birthday party. “It was OK, because I knew what I was eating,” she said. “I was in full control of the situation.”
Breuer feels that many diet plans that focus on instant weight loss are unsuccessful because people never feel they are in control. Most end up feeling lost and defeated. She understands how frustrating this can be and encourages people to embrace a paradigm shift in order to gain control and lead a healthier, more balanced life.
Like Kerry, consider making behavior change — instead of weight loss — the center of your weight management program. The Health Improvement Program (HIP) offers a variety of weight management/behavior change options in both individualized and group formats, including a group program that meets weekly for 12 weeks. For more information, check out this website: http://hip.stanford.edu/classes/weight-management.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Wendy Fortino, M.S., Coordinator of Recreational Fitness Facilities and Fitness Programs at Stanford. Edited by Julie Croteau and Lane McKenna Ryan.