A friend of mine went to see her primary care physician complaining of weight gain in menopause. He told her; “You’re in menopause so expect to gain 10 pounds. Its unavoidable.” So as the power of suggestion would have it, she went on vacation to Hawaii and gained 8 pounds. It was unavoidable.

It’s time we question the rational of the medical model for weight loss, conventional methods in dieting, disordered eating and even in the need to reduce weight after eating disorder recovery. If my friend had said a week long vacation of overeating made the vacation more fun, I would have told her to have at it and gain the other 2 that her doctor so righteously predicted. But truth be told, she was miserable in her own skin.

The power of choice is a really important feature of what I do with behavior modification with my clients. Kelly Brownell calls our environment a "toxic food environment." I think this often leads to people to feel powerless over food as if they don't have a choice.

There in lies the importance of teaching people how to recognize the pitfalls in the way that food is marketed and advertised. Part of the education that I do when teaching the basic eating mechanics is a lot of education on the triggers in the environment.

What do I mean by triggers?
They are the things that cause us to trip and fall off course with our eating. Being engaged in a negative eating cycle could be broken at any point, but it's easiest to break the negative cycle at the trigger.

People in this country need to recognize and be aware of the triggers if they are going to have a fighting chance at breaking the negative cycle of self-defeat with binge eating or over eating.

Rachel Liger, MS, RD, CEDRD

Specialist in eating disorders and weight management for 16 years

Rachel Liger is a registered dietitian with 16 years of experience in eating disorders in inpatient, outpatient and residential treatment settings. She is credited with the development of the nutrition program at Del Amo Hospital and Oceanaire. Rachel worked for Center for Discovery where she was credited with the nutrition program development. She lectures at professional meetings and serves as an adjunct professor at California State Long Beach where she received her masters degree and completed a clinical research study. She appeared in the E! Television series “What’s Eating You” and co-founded the Eating Disorder Coalition of the South Bay.

The Start of Appetite Focused Weight Loss

"I pilot tested Appetite-Focused Weight Loss on my friend that had been given that bad news about menopause and weight gain. Once a week, we would meet in a restaurant and have lunch together and I taught her the basic mechanics of eating which enabled her to eat the foods that she liked, but less of them.

If we had been doing Intuitive Eating, she would have lost a little water weight gained from the sharp weight increase from her trip. After the water loss, she likely would have maintained a weight higher than her pre-vacation weight. She was miserable, so I decided to experiment with teaching her to eat less to promote hunger every 2-3 hours verses every 4-5 hours. I called it eating to a six verses the 7 that Intuitive Eating recommends. She lost 1-2 pounds per week over the summer and had the weight off before the new school year. This is an example of an individual being treated who did not have an eating disorder."

In America, the average dress size is a 14, up from a 12 when I first got into this industry. American women continue to both diet and hate their bodies making the diet industry a 100 billion dollar industry with a 95% failure rate. This is not just an American phenomenon as European women hate their bodies just as much, with France leading the way. The difference is that the average BMI is must lower all over Europe so “health at any size” there is several sizes lower than here. I know that according to “set point theory” folks can reset their set point along the way during their life span. Our natural set point is the weight that our body defends, making it very difficult to loose since weight loss is seen as a physical detriment. This point is set after five years of maintaining a gain (i.e. pregnancy weight). Many of my clients come to me after years of maintaining a set point higher than what it was before the eating disorder began. The question becomes, what is than the proper set point for this individual and do we have to the American average of 10 pounds of gain with each passing decade of life?


% Diet Failure Rate

American women continue to both diet and hate their bodies making the diet industry a 100 billion dollar industry with a 95% failure rate

Average Dress Size

In America, the average dress size is a 14,
up from a 12 fifteen to twenty years ago