There is a common misconception that people fail at diets because they lack will-power. The truth of the matter is that diets fail people – every single time. Our bodies and our minds are not meant to diet, and if our body is forced to eat less than what it needs each day, it will go into some behind-the- scenes work to conserve itself. The hypothalamus in the brain has a pre-determined set point of where your body’s weight should be and adjusts your hunger, metabolism and levels of activity to keep things constant. Dieting can negatively affect our mental and physical health.
Diets convey messages of deprivation, guilt, fear, rigidity, shame and focus on weight loss as the only goal. They suggest that every person is the same, and don’t allow for individual differences. A person following a diet is told to ignore the body’s in-built feedback signal that would otherwise be advising whether its needs are being met.
If you follow a diet that is too restrictive and not adequately meeting your body’s requirements, it will slow down the metabolism and increase the hunger signals to remind you that your body needs more food. The decrease in metabolism as well as the loss of lean muscle will lead you to regain all the lost weight, plus more for good measure just in case you diet again. This is not the outcome that you would have been favouring at the start of your health venture. Research also shows that this weight cycling puts you at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Our brains are not meant to be emotionally deprived of food. The more that you say you can’t eat a food or in many instances a total food group, the inner rebellion within you will want it even more. This can also contribute to certain cravings that people experience when they follow a diet. Women who diet frequently are more likely to have a poor relationship with food, over-eat foods, develop disordered eating behaviours and eating disorders.
Our emphasis should be health driven, not weight driven. People should be encouraged to adopt healthy habits such as choosing real nourishing foods, increasing physical activity, not smoking and if you choose to drink alcohol, it should be in moderation. It is also wise to listen to your body’s feedback and engage with your own hunger and fullness cues. Do yourself and your family a favour – step off the dieting merry-go-round and eat from a place of love and nourishment.
eat from a place of love and nourishment