The Problem with Dieting

The problem with dieting is that it is restrictive and it leaves you feeling deprived. These trends may help you quickly lose weight but not fat. The weight comes back after veering from the given rules of the diet.

The Problem of Dieting and Why are Fad Diets Unhealthy?

Many people are drawn to diets because they may feel out of control around food and want to stick to a rigid plan. After breaking one of the diet rules, people feel guilty and ashamed. These people may start another diet which leads to a vicious cycle.

the problem with dieting

Tricks the Brain

Following certain rules for restricted eating to lose weight means ignoring signs of hunger and cravings. Unfortunately, dieters often become unaware of satiety signals. This becomes a serious problem for weight management in the long-term. Once people are free from their diet, they may overeat and subsequently gain weight. Multiple diet trends encourage fast results instead of long-term success.

Reliance on Environmental Cues

Dieters tend to rely on environmental cues to determine what they eat and the serving size. They ignore the natural signs of hunger and feeling full. When you are following the rules of a diet, there isn’t an issue. When you end the diet, you will be bombarded with messages from advertisements and other external sources. These messages promote eating more and consuming unhealthy options.

Drains Willpower

Dieters rely on external cues as opposed to internal ones for their eating habits. It becomes more difficult to refuse and drains your willpower. These dieters may feel tired and break from their diet or overeat. Willpower may wear out if it becomes overused. There is a correlation between willpower and being successful in various aspects of life.

Brings a Negative Effect

As a dieter, giving into desire may unravel all attempts at weight loss. When your willpower runs out, you’ll likely indulge in an unhealthy choice like a bag of cookies. Binge eating may reverse progress from restricted eating. Unfortunately, this pattern could become a habit. Many diet fads don’t allow any room for lapses compared to long-term strategies to manage weight.

Some healthy long-term strategies for weight management will likely convey:

  • Allowing space for occasional treats
  • Having variety in a healthy diet
  • Emphasizing exercise
  • Using good habits as tools to control weight
  • Focussing on healthy selections
  • Promising gradual success
  • Encouraging eating strategies around good nutrition

healthy weight management

Promotes Nutritionism

Many of the latest diets advocate eating less. There are restrictions on some types of nutrients such as sugar, fat, carbohydrates and gluten over others. Dieters like to categorize foods into being good or bad. They often forget that consuming too much of any food group is a problem. Diets which emphasize foods you can’t consume and ban specific foods won’t be successful for long term weight control.

Slows Metabolism

Losing weight quickly will slow your metabolism. It is challenging to suddenly lose fat without losing a lot of muscle. When people discontinue their diet, they experience subsequent overeating. More fat as opposed to muscle is added back which is a consequence of overeating. A better approach is to eat like a foodist. Healthy food habits will increase as opposed to reduce metabolism. Work with your body to improve your metabolism. Paying attention to your body and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will slowly result in steady weight loss.

Distractions from Effectiveness

Dieting will not bring permanent success. Building a healthy lifestyle based on a set of great habits works in the long term. Diets make it hard to meet your goals, waste your time and energy. Act on 2 to 3 healthy eating habits for a while until they become second nature. Incorporate the majority of these habits into most meals and snacks so you can enjoy occasional indulgences without worrying. Once you stop dieting, paying attention to signals of hunger and satiety are easy when you develop these habits.

Valuable Lessons

According to an ongoing study by the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), asking for help and taking away the focus from food are two valuable lessons learned from 2,000 weight loss participants. The study includes men and women. They lost about 30 pounds each and kept the weight off for at least a year.

Almost every participant changed their consumption and exercise habits to lose weight. A formal program for weight loss was used by just more than half the participants. Learn about preventing weight gain as opposed to focussing on ways to drop pounds. Instead of cutting back, add more variety to your diet. Look for simple approaches for weight loss instead of being drawn to fast diet fads.

People should incorporate more of these foods into their diet:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein

Consequences of Dieting

Dieting is problematic because there tends to be emphasis on calorie restriction. There is a greater chance of the diet backfiring due to the body’s need to conserve energy. Calories are burned at a slower rate because the body believes it’s in somewhat of a starvation state. The body compromises itself by working in a low gear to preserve energy.

Food Group Bans

Diets that ban one or multiple food groups are not recommended because they can result in nutritional deficiencies. The body will not be able to function properly without necessary nourishment for optimal health. Dieters who follow these strict guidelines start to crave different food groups. They will ditch the diet to fulfill their cravings.

risk of fad diets

Negative Experiences

Some dieters reveal their frustration from their negative experiences. These complaints range from feeling nauseous from consuming too much meat to reaching a standstill and gaining lots of weight from a calorie restricted diet. Dieters find themselves lost and confused as they continue to search for the next diet.

Striving for Health

According to a study by researchers from Laval University in Québec, had a goal for body positivity by wanting participants to be healthy no matter what their size. This intervention focussed on the benefits of controlling weight in a unique way. These researchers wanted to end the terrible cycle of dieting. Overweight or obese women, also chronic dieters were the participants in the intervention.

The intervention encouraged the participants to eat nutritious foods, enjoy exercise and listen to their body signals. Researchers also promoted positive strategies for body appreciation for participants of every size. The intervention did not include a list of restricted foods. As opposed to most diet, researchers did not make weight loss an ultimate goal.

Cultural Norms

There is a shift in seeing strict dieting as an ineffective way for weight loss. More than 50% of American adults attempt to manage their weight. However, they state that they are not following a diet. In this case, it’s more than semantics.

Americans don’t like the meaning associated with the word “diet” due to sounding restrictive. There is a habitually negative approach to limiting food due to cultural norms. According to a survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), lifestyle changes work and diets are not effective.

Many Americans are moving away from the idea that a diet is a temporary change for eating habits to lose weight. More people are viewing nutritional strategies as a way to benefit their health. They want to focus on well being by developing lifelong habits.

Samantha Merz

Samantha lives in Vancouver, BC. Samantha is an avid volunteer in the community, enjoys singing and playing badminton.

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