7 Reasons To Never Diet
#1: YO-YO DIETING LEADS TO POORER BODY COMPOSITION & WORSE HEALTH
This is a typical scenario: You cut back on calories and increase your exercise for a set period of time. This makes you feel deprived and hungry, and it causes you to lose precious muscle just as fast as body fat.
Metabolic rate drops fast so that as soon as you increase calories, or reduce the amount of exercise you are doing, you regain all the weight replacing the fat with fat and the muscle with fat.
Not only will you be fatter than when you started, but yo-yo dieting leads to inflammation, raising disease risk.
#2: DIETING WON’T SOLVE POOR BODY IMAGE
How people feel about their bodies is related to how they feel about themselves as a whole. Body image and self confidence are related. Dieting or even losing fat won’t solve this complicated relationship.
In fact, a habit of dieting, especially when it coincides with calorie restriction over the long term, is associated with depression, mood disorders, and poor self image. These cognitive changes don’t resolve even if you are able to lose body fat and reach your goal weight. Dislike of one’s body often persist despite a decrease in body fat.
#3: DIETING INCREASES SUSCEPTIBILITY TO EATING DISORDERS
How about this for a scary fact: Eating disorders are the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. And a habit of dieting significantly increases the chance that you will develop a full-scale eating disorder, with certain populations such as college students and female athletes at greatest risk.
We know that calorie restriction is a major stressor for the body. Combined with habits linked to restricting food or limiting certain foods, dieters often adopt pathological eating habits that develop into full-scale eating disorders over time.
#4: DIETING LEADS TO ALL-OR-NOTHING APROACH TO FOOD
Have you started a diet, been determined to be perfect, then slipped up and eaten everything in your refrigerator, promising yourself that you will start afresh the next day, A related mindset is when people label food as “good” or “bad”, basically moralising food in an effort to restrict their eating only to the foods they deem healthy.
Both of these mindsets are associated with feelings of guilt when people don’t live up to their all-or-nothing paradigm and are associated with depression and anxiety.
#5: DIETING DISCONNECTS US FROM OUR BODIES
Dieting requires you to ignore hunger and disconnect from the natural messages your body is giving your brain. Over time, dieting is associated with reduced sensitivity in the brain to leptin, a hormone that helps reduce hunger and allows for a feeling of satisfaction after a meal.
Once people become resistant to leptin it is very difficult to restore sensitivity so that hunger is kept at reasonable levels. This is one reason that dieting often leads to compensatory binge eating.
#6: DIETING INCREASES PERCEIVED STRESS & RAISES CORTISOL
Dieting, especially calorie counting, is mentally stressful and makes the body feel threatened, raising what is called perceived stress. This leads to an even greater release of cortisol, and a vicious cycle ensues, with high cortisol fuelling anxiety, and exacerbating dissatisfaction with body image. It may also contribute to preoccupation with food and the development of unhealthy or disordered eating habits.
#7: DIETING OFFERS FALSE HOPE
As much as 97% of dieters regain all they lost and then some and less than 20% of dieters are able to maintain just 10% of the weight lost during long term interventions.
Everyone thinks they are going to be the exception to the rule, after all, the motivation is there. Bottom line: to achieve lasting results, you have to adopt lifestyle habits.