Hello everyone! This six weeks, I had the opportunity of watching this AHH-mazing TED Talk video (link listed at bottom of page) concerning the lifelong effects of dieting, and learning instead to “eat mindfully”. Most of us (me included) view the word “diet” as a temporary and highly restrictive program of eating in order to lose weight. Which brings to the question, “Does dieting or a temporary eating restriction help us healthily lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle?”
Through thorough research, I have compiled a list of reasons as to why you should (hopefully) reconsider the “latest”, “newest”, or even “best” diet. Take a look at the facts people!!
1. Push For Long-Term Success
The facts don’t lie to us- over 90% of people who have been on a diet regained all or most of their weight within 1-5 years. That’s literally insane!! Why go on a diet for weight loss to gain it back within a couple of years? It’s true. Your diet will fail you the very second you focus on something else. The point is, the fad diets (low carbs, low calories, etc.) will be just a temporary fix to a lifelong process. Once we have reached our set goal of weight loss, it’s incredibly easy to slip back into our old eating habits. Why? Because we never learned any different in the first place. Diets consisting of carbohydrate and calorie restrictions (as well as many others) teach us absolutely nothing as to how to constructively create a healthy diet that would perpetually have lifelong benefits. This “fad-dieting” creates a repeating circle of: dieting, weight loss, satisfaction, weight gain, dissatisfaction, dieting, etc. DO YOU SEE THE CYCLE? Good, me too. Dieting can have high inconvenience, restrictions, cost, or even simply put- just too complicated. Let’s remove all this complication and replace it with simplicity. Think about it… “if diets worked, we’d all be thin already.”
2. Lack Of Nutrition
What? Dieting is LACKING nutrition? Isn’t it supposed to be INCREASING my nutrition?! Well…um…yes. Dieting lacks many nutrients that are incredibly essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In fact, once your body begins to undergo significant weight loss, your brain acts as if your body were starving itself. NOT COOL, but so true. Your brain unconsciously knows within a 20 pound range as to where your body needs to be. When we gain weight and approach out of the range that our brain has set for us specifically, it almost “re-calibrates” itself, ultimately setting a new range for where your body should be. Kinda cool, right? Well, not so much. Let’s say, now you are ready to put down the chips and get off the couch to begin exercising again. Let’s even further say that you lose 25 pounds and put yourself back into your normal weight. Your brain does not “re-calibrate” itself back into its normal state…I know…crazy!! But again, it’s true. You are then living a life, according to your brain, of starvation. Therefore, your body is unconsciously storing extra food, even though you are not at an unhealthy weight. (Don’t blame me, blame your hypothalamus.)
3. Eating Disorders
Becoming frustrated or obsessive with dieting can certainly lead to eating disorders which are incredibly destructive to the body. In the TED Talk video, it mentioned that girls who obsess over weight in their teenage years are three times more likely to either gain weight later in life or become bound by an eating disorder- both being harmful. Some scary statistics include:
-Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents
-95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8
-20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
-42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner
-81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
It’s heartbreaking to see how much dieting has influenced and shaped our society.
So what do we do?
Take control of your health by taking control of your lifestyle. It was shown that people who consumed fruits and vegetables, incorporated regular exercise, did not smoke, and had a moderate intake of alcohol were surpassingly healthier than people who did little or none of the above. Learn to eat when your body is hungry, and learn to stop when your body is full. This will take some time and observation as to learning how your body reacts, but in the end, it’s a great skill to learn mindfulness eating. “Work WITH your appetite, instead of fearing it.”
“The best answer is to dieting, then, is: A lifelong program of everyday healthy, pleasurable eating coupled with regular exercise. To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. How boring! How prosaic! Yet how true.” Meg Selig
I hope this post inspired you as much as it did me, to really focus on a long-term healthy lifestyle, rather than a temporary “quick fix” diet. Diets aren’t worth it. Diets. Aren’t. Worth. It.
Hey, guess what?
Diets aren’t worth it. 🙂
Link to TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/sandra_aamodt_why_dieting_doesn_t_usually_work?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2014-01-11&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_content=talk_of_the_week_button
Link to eating disorder statistics: http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/