Dieting will make you sad – and fat!
Bizarre isn’t it? But true. Dieting is bad news.
For one – it mucks up the ‘weight set point’ of your brain. Check out this TED Talk by Sandra Aamondt to find out the science behind your brain’s weight ‘set point’. This weight set point is what the body knows is its weight and it will sort everything out (within reason) to stay at the point. But here’s the thing – dieting moves that set point HIGHER. Which means the weight your body wants to be increases the more you diet.
This has been true for me. Well into my twenties, nine and a half stone was my usual weight. When I dieted I went down to 9 stone, but of course, we know it’s unsustainable to keep strict diets going, and then I went up to 11 stone at my heaviest. And now, my set point is 10 stone. I happen to be totally happy at this weight – as it doesn’t really move anymore (hello set-point). Because I’m not doing anything rash, and I keep to pretty much the same habits, it doesn’t budge. I sometimes eat a lot, I sometimes eat a little. It’s still 10 stone. If I hadn’t dieted it would have probably found it easy to have maintained that original 9 stone.
Dieting also makes you focus on food TOO much. For me, this was the worst part about dieting.
A famous study by Ancel Keys showed this to be true. A group of 36 men were signed up the experiment to see how calorie restriction could make them lose 25% of their body weight. They reduced their calories to 1600 (they had been eating around 3000 up until then) and the study lasted around 6 months.
The men became lethargic, moody, irritable, and some totally lost the plot.
They obsessed about food. They dreamed about it. They stole scraps out of the bin.
The 3 month re-feeding period involved trying several different combinations of protein, vitamins, and levels of calories. Dizziness, apathy and lethargy improved first, but persistent hunger, weakness, and loss of sex drive persisted for several months. The men described “a year-long cavity” that needed to be filled. The day after they were finally released from the study, one of the men was hospitalized to have his stomach pumped after bingeing.
From Psychology Today
That’s what most diets recommend.
These were healthy, normal people. Put them on a diet and they become obsessed, hungry, anxious.
Finally – dieting makes you look at food, and only food – at the expense of everything else that you liked to do. There’s a sense of ‘I’ll put this on hold’ until the diet is over.
Er – life is now!
So please. Do. Not. Diet.
“But I’ll gain weight – I’ll be massive! I’ll binge!” I hear you scream.
Uh huh, uh huh I hear you.
First of all – you are only saying that because dieting has zapped every scrap of self-trust you ever had and put it in the pooper.
If you had self-trust and the belief that you were able to handle it – you’d know that diets are making you miserable and you are worth more than that!
So how do you get out of this dieting trap?
Start a programme of RADICAL KINDNESS!
This is where you look at what you’re saying to yourself, and you just shut up the negative crap. You don’t need to dispute it or engage with it – just say some nice stuff to yourself instead.
Start some affirmations and some journaling. Get all your worries out on paper.
Then look at what is important to you in your life – and do some more of that.
Eat whatever you want – but ADD in more real food. So if you want a burger, go for it, but also make sure you eat some veg and some healthy protein. This helps to reverse the ‘lack mindset’ and replace it with the ‘abundance mindset’ – just the remedy for the diet-addled mind!
Crowd out the negative thoughts with positivity without trying to stop them.
Crowd out your dieting foods with real food without changing what you’re used to.
This is the first step.
Keep checking all the blog posts here for loads of tips and how-to’s on how to Eat Happy!