Why, in 2019, diets are not the answer to sustained weight loss
The concept of dieting is a relatively modern thing that really became a force in 1980’s. Coincidentally or not, this also saw a huge increase in the popularity of high-energy, processed food and in turn, adult obesity.
The definition of a diet is that of restricting yourself to only a small amount or special kinds of food, with some sort of goal in mind (usually in order to lose weight). However, restricting yourself through dieting develops an unhealthy relationship with food and can cause many health problems, physically and psychologically. It is also unsustainable, with many diets causing you to put more weight on in the long run.
The diet industry claims health as being at the forefront of fad diets. These claims are often murky at best in terms of research and rarely genuinely appear to have the user’s health as a priority. What they fail to acknowledge is that drastically cutting out whole food groups or heavily restricting food can lead to lack of nutrition and problems with metabolism.
Diets can also lead to disordered eating patterns, such as fasting, intentional vomiting and binging. It very often contributes to weight fluctuation and body image problems. Diets require a strict level of deprivation of certain foods as well as an increase in exercise. Withdrawing food from your daily life and exercising as a form of punishment can be an unsustainable and unhealthy path to weight loss.
There will always be the next big diet taking the world by storm, the media hyping and bombarding people with its miraculous outcomes. Fad diets are here today and gone tomorrow and the bare minimum of these concepts stick. With a fad diet, a lot of weight is initially lost and is quite noticeable to begin with.
Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 people who take on a fad diet will end up putting the weight back on. This has to do with metabolism. When dieting, your metabolism does not really know what is going on. As the body experiences a calorie restriction, it can think it’s in a situation similar to starvation or famine. It may then responds to this by slowing down the metabolism. When you begin to eat normally again, or become less strict with food intake, the body does not cooperate and your metabolism remains slow, causing rapid weight gain as the body holds onto the food.
Fad diets such as the Atkins Diet, Slim-Fast, Lemon Detox and the Cabbage Soup Diet all bring about fast results but are nutritionally lacking and can actually be quite dangerous for your health. Slim-fast is a diet that consists of consuming only pre-packaged snack bars and shakes, with one low calorie meal at night. The problem with this diet is its lack of nutrition and the digestive system and bowels take a massive blow due to the processed nature of the bars and shakes. Not only are you starving, tired and moody, Slim-fast is also expensive.
Lemon detox and cabbage soup diets are examples of starvation diets and are not nutritionally sound, with large food groups and whole foods being cut out. The Atkin’s diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that has been said to cause headaches, bad breath and constipation. It can also lead to kidney failure and acidosis.
In 2019, people are looking for more when it comes to weight loss. People are becoming much more concerned with health and wellbeing rather then simply losing a lot of weight. They care about the weight loss process and are learning that your healthy weight will follow if you eat a balanced diet and exercise. The world is becoming increasingly aware of the damages rapid weight loss can cause to their bodies and are also becoming skeptical and wary of “miracle” weight loss techniques. As everyone is scratching the service of dieting and weight loss there is an increase in education on this topic with diets being replaced with the non-dieting movement.
The non-dieting movement is a relatively new phenomenon that has evolved from people understanding that dieting can actually make you put on weight, store fat and alter your body shape. The non-dieting movement revolves around positive weight loss and body appreciation with a special focus on obtaining an unrestricted and healthy relationship with food. This movement looks towards the body and its ability to know how to ensure good nutrition and to remain at a healthy weight. It also focuses on:
- Listening to the body
- Mindful eating; eat when hungry, stop when full
- Remove any distractions when you are eating and see meal time as an important and sacred time
- Accepting your body
- Removing any guilt associated with food or your body
The shift has occurred for many from weight loss and management to health promotion. The non-diet movement encourages positive self-esteem and body love. Exercise is seen as a fun activity and a way to feel energized, not as a repetitive chore.
Many studies have been carried out to analyse the difference between dieting and non-dieting. It comes as no surprise that this study concluded that non-dieting was overall better for physical and mental health. The study found that those who were not dieting had a better relationship with food, a better relationship with their bodies, were less likely to emotionally binge eat, enjoyed a wider variety of food and have overall better psychological wellbeing. A review of 24 papers on non-dieting eating styles backed up these findings with links being made to a heightened level of emotional wellbeing, positive body image, as well as a decrease in disordered eating.
Diets are becoming a thing of the past, and for good reason. Fad dieting is ineffective, unsustainable and dangerous to your health. Diets have been linked to nutritional deficiencies and a slower metabolism, meaning that the weight you initially lose has a good chance of being put right back on.
The non-diet movement is an alternative way to look at weight loss and a healthy body. The movement encourages healthy relationships with food and the body and discourages starving fad diets that idolise the thin ideal that is so often portrayed in the media. So, quit the diet and begin the process of loving your body inside and out and it will begin to regulate itself to a happy and healthy weight.