Chris Brogan just asked an interesting question to people who write blogs:
Television shows are based on both models. In the “chapters” model, we get a little [piece] at the beginning of each episode. It says, “Previously, on ____.” Then, we get to see a few seconds that should remind us of whatever it was we saw last time we tuned in. In the episodes method, often used in sitcoms, everything seems to reset from whatever happens during the show by the time we get to the end.
This distiction got me thinking about how we view the changes we make to our eating habits. Diets are more like episodes -- they have a distint beginning and end (usually sooner than we planned). They usually follow the same plot line.... have you noticed?
Mindful eating is more like chapters. Obviously, the story is longer and more well developed. You get to know the main character (you) much better because there is more time for the story to develop. You wake up in the morning and have the opportunity to assess how hungry you are -- that will be based on how much you ate the day before and how you timed your meals. As you go through your day, the hunger (or lack of hunger) can continue to guide your eating pattern and the end of your evening isn't an end. You wake up the next morning to do the same thing all over again.
Chris says, for bloggers, there is no "right" choice -- his point is that you need to understand what you're trying to accomplish. I think the same is true for us. If you have a specific purpose (like losing 100 pounds so you can have hip surgery), dieting is probably a really positive choice. That specific of a goal requires some very specificly prescribed actions.
If you're trying to learn to manage your weight for the course of a lifetime or trying to gain an understanding of why and how you eat -- that is something that needs to be done over the course of time. You won't be able to "get it" all in one neat little 30 minute episode -- you're just too complex of a story :)