Yes, you read that correctly! I’m drawing comparisons between dieting and dogs now.

Well, it has been done before in that awesome Poodle Science video, so why can’t I do it for diets?!

Please allow me to explain.

Dieting is a lot like dogs at obedience training. Don't believe me? Read on to see how they are (plus you get to see some cute dogs!).

I saw the video below at a professional development day. As I was watching it, it dawned on me that these dogs at their obedience training reminded me very much of the journey of a chronic dieter and those taking a non-diet approach.

The typical journey of someone pursuing weight loss (whether that is to improve their health or just to change the size and shape of their body) is to try one diet or eating pattern, lose some weight, fall off the wagon, gain the weight back, then move on to the next diet/eating pattern. And it goes on and on for years. It’s called diet cycling.

So, let’s watch this video. Skip forward to the 51 second mark to the loveable Golden Retriever. You don’t need the sound on.

As you are watching it, imagine all of the food and toys the dog is being distracted by are diets – Weight Watchers, Paleo, clean eating, 5:2, I Quit Sugar, cutting out dairy, cutting out gluten, no carbs after 6pm, strict during the week/cheat meals on weekends, cleanses, liver detox, low carb/high fat….add in any others you can think of.


How hectic are things for this guy? He (I am assuming it is a he!), is so excited about moving on to the next thing, in the hope it is going to be the best toy he has played with or the best food he has eaten. Much like people who diet move from one diet to the next, hopeful that the next thing they try is going to be the one that works. Except they are generally not as excited and happy about it as our pup. That is because diet cycling can be pretty soul destroying.

And then the big question. Does he reach the end and get his reward for performing well? Nope – he has to be dragged off the course by his owner. Unfortunately, this is very much like what happens with chronic dieters. That end goal is always elusive. They are always chasing that weight loss dream.

Go back now and watch the video from the start and see how Magda and Esme fare on the same obedience course. P.S. I don’t know why our happy Golden Retriever doesn’t get a name in this video!

Magda and Esme remind me of people working on improving their health and relationship with food using a non-diet approach.

You see, one of the first people need to know when they start this work is that it is really important to put dieting and the pursuit of weight loss on the back burner. Why? Because, like the food and toys in the video, the pursuit of weight loss is really distracting and gets in the way of people being able to focus on their end goal to make peace with food and their body and improve their overall health.

You can see these two dogs are working really hard to stay focussed. And at a couple of points that focus wavers slightly. This is soooooo common for people who are working on becoming intuitive eaters. That allure to dabble in a little in dieting to lose some weight is always hanging around in the background.

But these dogs stick to their guns, make it through the obedience course and receive their reward from their owners. I’d like to say switching from dieting to the non-diet approach to achieve your health goals is as quick, easy and smooth sailing as what you saw in the obedience challenge. In reality, it is kind of a cross between Magda and Esme and our Retriever. A bit messy but with good intention. But the rewards you can receive from taking a non-diet path to health is well worth working through that mess.


What do you think? Is dieting like dogs at obedience training?!



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