How Yo-Yo Dieting is Harming Your Health

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We live in a world that not only shames obesity, but blames it for almost every chronic disease. Whether our doctor tells us we are 10 pounds “overweight'“ or 100 pounds “overweight”, we live in fear that this weight will eventually lead to our demise.

So what are we told to do? Lose weight of course! How? Through DIET and EXERCISE!

More often than not, people embark on a weight loss journey in an attempt to improve their health. Now don’t get me wrong - changing up your nutrition can and will improve your health - IF you change the way you THINK about food. Most people however, tend to engage in restrictive, unhealthy behaviors in order to lose weight though (which remember, was to be healthy - backwards much?)

I’ll cut out carbs. Nothing white allowed. Only protein and veggies. No eating after 6pm. No more sweets. Fast intermittently. Do weight watchers. Go keto. Give vegan a try.

These are some of the ideas we come up with for ourselves or are given as suggestions from friends, family AND DOCTORS.

What if I told you restrictive diets not only DON’T WORK (as in they don’t keep weight off long term) BUT actually NEGATIVELY impact both your PHYSICAL and MENTAL HEALTH?

That’s right - diets ARE BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Today I am going to share the biological, physical, psychological and emotional ways in which diets can negatively impact your health. The following information is adopted from Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book Intuitive Eating; A revolutionary program that works (pg 48-49).

Biological and Physical Damage

Throughout the history of our human existence, human starvation has occurred. In some parts of the world, it still occurs today. In order to survive as a species, human beings adapted during times of famine and learned to hold on to extra energy stores. In order to survive, we needed to store fat. Today, although our technology, access to food and day-to-day lifestyles have changed drastically, this built in survival mechanism has not - and it kicks on when we diet. Which leads to the following:

  1. Chronic dieting teaches the body to retain more fat when you start eating again. Low-calorie diets double the enzymes that make and store fat in the body. This is a form of biological compensation to help the body store more energy, or fat, after dieting.”

  2. “Chronic dieting slows the rate of weight loss with each successive attempt to diet.”

  3. Decreases metabolism. Dieting triggers the body to become more efficient at utilizing calories by lowering the body’s need for energy”

  4. Increases binges and cravings. Both humans and rats have been shown to overeat after chronic food restriction. Food restriction stimulates the brain to launch a cascade of cravings to eat more. After substantial weight loss, studies show that rats prefer eating more fat, while people have been shown to prefer foods both high in fat and sugar”

  5. Increase risk of premature death and heart disease.” Studies have shown that people who’s weight repeatedly goes up and down, have a higher death rate and two times the risk of dying of heart disease (independent of cardiovascular risk factors, and held true for thin and obese people). The Harvard Alumni Health Study shows that people who lose and gain 11+ pounds within 10 years or so, don’t live as long as people that maintain a stable weight.

  6. Cause satiety cues to atrophy”. Dieters learn to rely on external cues/rules to stop eating rather than listening to inner cues of fullness.

  7. Cause body shape to change. Yo-yo dieters who continually regain the lost weight tend to regain weight in the abdominal area. This type of fat storage increase the risk of heart disease.”

Irregular periods, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and headaches are other side effects of dieting.

Psychological and Emotional Damage

  1. Dieting is linked to eating disorders.” In one study, by age 15, dieters were 8x more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than non-dieters.

  2. Dieting causes feeling of failure, erodes self-trust, confidence and self-esteem. It can also increase social anxiety.

  3. Loss of control when eating. Continuous restriction and deprivation can trigger overeating when a “forbidden” food is consumed.

As you can see, dieting is harmful in so many ways. You are probably thinking “Okay so what am I supposed to do instead?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Weight gain beyond what is healthy for your body is almost always a SYMPTOM, not a cause. In order to treat the symptom we need to treat what is causing it in the first place. For some that could be stress, a busy schedule or perhaps a knowledge deficit. For many though, dieting is the cause, in which case we need to stop dieting.

Learning to eat intuitively is the answer, for EVERY SINGLE PERSON. Intuitive eating is a paradigm shift on how we approach food. It is looking at nutrition from a completely different frame of reference and getting back in touch with the intuition we were all born with.

Are you ready to get off the merry-go-round that is the diet cycle and become an intuitive eater FOR LIFE? Click HERE to schedule a free 30 minute discovery call to see how my intuitive eating program can help.