Food for Thought: Diets Don’t Work
Have you been thinking you need to “shed extra pounds”, “eat right”, and go on a diet? Weight loss is the obsession everywhere you turn. Today I just want to share with you some information adapted from the National Eating Disorders Association about why this might not be the best idea. That’s right. Diets don’t work and statistics (and science) show that most dieters actually end up weighing more! In the long run, deprivation does more damage to the body physically (metabolism, nutritional deficiencies, etc…) and emotionally (disordered eating). So, what’s the big deal? Read more…
What is Dieting?
Any attempt in the name of weight loss to deprive your body of the essential nutrients it needs to function at its fullest capacity. This includes skipping meals, eliminating specific foods, counting calories, and/or excessive exercise.
So What’s the Big Deal about Dieting?
- Genetics not dietics determine body shape and size
- Medical research shows that it is MORE dangerous to be 30% underweight than 30% overweight
- “Yo-Yo” dieting can increase the risk of heart disease by as much as 50-60%
- Dieting can lead to calcium deficiency, which means brittle and breakable bones
- Dieting can lead to loss of muscular strength and endurance, decreased oxygen utilization, loss of coordination, and electrolyte imbalance
- Dieting can cause you to have slower reaction times and a decreased ability to concentrate
- Dieting is associated with depression, feelings of failure, low self-esteem, and increased stress
- Dieting can make you grumpy, irritable, tired and apathetic
- Dieting can make you think about food ALL the time
- Dieting can make you crave food in your dreams
- Dieting can lead to developing an eating disorder
Diets Don’t Work
- 95% of dieters will regain their lost weight in one to five years
- Consistent dieting can lower your resting metabolic rate so over time your body will burn calories more slowly
- In the long run your body’s metabolism will lead you back to your set-point or natural weight, which is influenced by your genetics
- Dieting necessitates tuning into external cues with regard to food intake and disconnecting from internal cues of hunger and fullness. Food restrictions placed on the dieter eventually result in breaking the diet with consumption of the once forbidden foods of the diet plan, often in the form of a binge.
- Dieting overstimulates the production of fat storage enzymes so that when you go off the diet, you’ll quickly fill fat cells to maximum capacity. This is how our bodies have evolved to survive during times of famine.
What Can I Do Instead of Dieting?
- Keep a Top 10 List of things you like about yourself and add to your list often.
- Listen to your body. Eat when hungry. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat and ask yourself what are you REALLY hungry for? Stop eating when you’re full. Rest when you’re tired. Choose foods and activity that make your body feel good and energized.
- Check in often with how you are feeling so you can tune in to your emotions. When you have the urge to eat and you’re not hungry, ask yourself what you might be feeling.
- Practice new coping skills to help you manage emotions that might trigger emotional eating: boredom, anxiety, loneliness, shame, guilt, disappointment. Check out the recommended reading for tips.
Want more help with food and body issues?
Attend our workshop, Make Peace with Food, Mind, Body & Emotions to get a jumpstart to help you with food and body issues. Participate in our 12-week group program to go in depth on making lifelong peace with food, mind, body & emotions.
To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment to one of our counselors for personal therapy with food and body image concerns at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.
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If you’re one of the nearly 116 million Americans trying to lose weight, only to find that every diet you’ve tried has failed you, you are a diet survivor. You can step off the destructive diet bandwagon and reclaim your self-esteem, positive body image and a happy, healthy life.
We’ve all been there—angry with ourselves for overeating, for our lack of willpower, for failing at yet another diet. But the problem is not us; it’s that dieting, with its emphasis on rules and regulations, has stopped us from listening to our bodies.
Food has the power to temporarily alleviate stress and sadness, enhance joy, and bring us comfort when we need it most. It’s no wonder experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is triggered by our emotions, not physical hunger.
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