“I am against dieting for weight loss!”
As a Nutritionist, I have seen many eating disorders begin with people who are overweight trying to get healthy by dieting. I would not recommend daily weighing because that’s when so many eating disorders begin.
I think I should make myself clear: I am against dieting for weight loss. Here’s why.
Firstly “diet” is a confusing word because it can mean “the customary food and drink of a culture, a person, or an animal.” There are also diets prescribed for medical reasons, like the DASH diet or a diet to control diabetes. These are necessary and serve a healthy motivation..
But most of us know “diet” in its more insidious form as “a temporary and highly restrictive program of eating in order to lose weight.” This is the kind of diet that I’m referring to in this post.
Why am I against that kind of diet?
- As weight loss programs, diets don’t work! Yes, you lose weight, but about 95% of people who lose weight by dieting will regain it in 1-5 years. Since dieting is a temporary food plan, it won’t work in the long run. Moreover, the deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle. And since your body doesn’t want you to starve, it responds to overly-restrictive diets by slowing your metabolism which of course makes it harder to lose weight.
- Fad diets can be harmful. They may lack essential nutrients, they teach you nothing about healthy eating. Therefore, when you’ve “completed” your fad diet, you simply boomerang back to the unhealthy eating patterns that caused your weight gain in the first place! This is the beginning of “yo-yo dieting,” which can bring its own health problems in its wake.
- Overly restrictive diets can take all the pleasure out of eating! We should find some joy in our food, it’s more than just nourishment, its memories and experiences too.
- Have you heard of “magic” weight-loss potions, “special” powders and pills, to desperate people, costing them their money and time at best, and fatal health consequences at worse. And have you ever noticed that every diet product claims it will be wondrously effective if used simultaneously with a healthy diet and regular exercise program? Skip the magic potions; t’s the healthy eating and exercise that are actually the effective ingredients.
- Obesity and overweight can be conditions that are caused by early life trauma. Specifically in such cases, dieting can be detrimental.
I understand that you want to lose weight before an occasion… It’s perfectly fine to control portions and skip desserts so you can work your weight to your ideal health. In fact, keep going with that plan–it’s healthy eating. But skipping meals or starving yourself is not.
So the first step towards permanent healthy weight loss is, somewhat ironically, to lose the diet and the diet mindset. Instead think about a Healthy Eating Plan that you could live with and enjoy for life. A lifelong program of everyday healthy, pleasurable eating coupled with regular exercise. To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. How boring! How tedious! Yet how true.
Check our other blogs to see how you might be able to achieve that healthier mindset and healthier lifestyle.