Gérard Apfeldorfer

Slimming: It's All in the Head Publication date : April 1, 2001

“It is now three years since Maigrir C’est Dans la Tête was first published. I realize that during that time certain aspects of the way I work have changed, and I have thus been led to revise the earlier edition.
“The best way to lose weight is to eat everything, but in moderation, and the best way to eat in moderation is to eat when you are hungry, to abstain from food when you are not hungry, and to stop eating as soon as you feel your hunger has been moderately satisified.
“All this may seem to be an oversimplification. And yet, the opposite advice is generally given to people who wish to lose weight. Dieters are encouraged not to listen to the messages their bodies send them: with the result that dieters suffer hunger pangs and refuse to eat because they fear they will put on weight, because they wish above all to become slim. What happens is that when dieters do give in to temptation, they do so excessively and compulsively. Dieters may lose weight, but they will generally put more of it back on than they had lost in the first place.
“People who suffer from food and weight disturbances are incapable of feeling satisfied when they have had enough to eat — so they do not stop eating. They must rediscover certain sensations: the feelings of hunger and of satiation; they must focus on the taste of the food they eat and rediscover the pleasure of eating, which will enable them to make their peace with food. They should eat everything they enjoy, without any taboos, without feeling guilty, but they should eat only those amounts that corrrespond to the hunger of the moment — neither more nor less.
“Another issue is acceptance of oneself. Everything I have written about the key to one’s body, the key to one’s exisence and to one’s life remains as relevant as ever. Moderation in regards to eating habits is only possible if one stops reacting to problems by eating: growing in one’s emotional life and in one’s relations with others, learning to know and esteem oneself.
“The challenge is not only to lose weight, but to become a thin person both in mind and body.” Gérard Apfeldorfer

Gérard Apfeldorfer is a psychiatrist specializing in behavioural and cognitive therapies. He is the author of Maigrir, C’est Fou.