America spends around $2 billion on weight loss products every year. But still, our wastelines continue to grow instead of shrink. Dieting may play a role in that and here’s why: “Dieting has been identified as a risk factor in the development of eating disorders, in particular, binge eating” (www.nedic.ca) . In short, dieting can actually lead to OVER eating. Can anyone else relate to that statement? Anyone?
A study done by the University of Minnesota has proven what many dieters already know from personal experience: dieting does not work. People who put themselves on a restriction diet a.k.a. starvation diet, soon start to exhibit the same psychological and physiological effects starvation has on the body. And this eventually leads to over eating in a moment of weakness or frustration. Ever had one of those days, amongst the shiniest of dieting days, where you make it past the afternoon munchies, and even the post-dinner cravings, only to be greeted with an annoying phone call, or a spout of bad news, that practically forces you to reach for the chocolate chips? Restriction dieting only exacerbates such an emotion-based response. Even unhealthily restricting your calories for only a few days can trigger overeating.
Being a former dieter, I can tragically laugh about the following “fun facts” of diets:
- Dieters do what it takes to maintain a clean social image of being a “good dieter” such as lying about what and how much they eat
- Dieters socially eat like birds while secretly feast like ravenous animals,
- Dieters do not lose more weight than non-dieters, despite putting themselves through the ringer day in and day out (talk about depressing!)
- Dieters often stockpile their limited amount of daily calories to cash in for one big meal a day, often later in the evening, which actually causes weight gain
- 45 million people go on a diet every year (Gallup poll)
- 1/2 of teenage girls, and 1/3 of teenage boys use methods like laxatives, fasting and meal skipping to lose weight (according to the National Eating Disorder Association)
- 41% of dieters actually gain back more weight than they initially lose whilst dieting
Dieting is hard. It is emotional, and for majority of people, depressing. I choose to make light of the Dieting Conundrum, because the alternative of taking it too serious, is even more depressing than the nature of dieting itself. We are conditioned to put pressure on ourselves to be something we are not. And failed diet after failed diet can make us doubt ourselves, rather than the advice we’re being told to follow.
So is this simply a Catch-22 for people trying to lose weight? Most definitely NOT. Diets fail because they do not change behavior. Diets simply put a Band-Aid on something that is much more than skin-deep. Dieters can, for a transitory period of time, adhere to dietary rules. But soon self-restraint is lifted by a diet-breaking trigger like stress or fatigue, and dieting results slowly fade away. So the key is to fix the behavior. What causes you to stress out? Why do you eat when you’re emotional or for celebration? I’ve mentioned this in past blog posts so forgive me for repeating, but finding and keeping balance in life will help take and keep the weight off. One of the perks of being a health coach, is seeing first hand, how well this approach works. People who forget about dieting, and focus on balancing out the different areas of their life, find weight loss to be a natural side effect.
I love to hear about peoples’ dieting stories, tricks, tips, success stories, un-success stories. If you have any experience with dieting, I’d love to hear about it. Email me privately or post on this blog if you prefer. But I’d love to hear your stories!