Dieting: restricting food intake due to worry over weight, shape or health.
Dieting is a dirty word and for too long society has been stuck thinking we must diet to lose weight, when in fact we must be healthy first to enable our body to release weight. And dieting is definitely not the express ticket to healthy. The stress of dieting alone is enough to halt weight loss in its tracks. In fact, most of us are familiar with the emotional effects of dieting but what really goes on beneath the surface and deep within when we restrict our food intake?
Lets take a look:
Resting metabolic rate falls during periods of food restraint. Basic survival mechanism at play, when regular eating resumes (cause lets face it, it will) it becomes harder to eat normal quantity of food and maintain weight. The damage has been done!
Effects of weight cycling; with each diet, there is a progressive increase in the rate at which resting metabolic rate will fall. With each subsequent phase of re-feeding there is a progressive retardation in the rate at which metabolic rate will recover. It is not all bad news, after weight loss, metabolic rate will generally recover to a level which is consistent with the current weight of the individual.
Set weight increases in persistent dieting, raising the limits within which the weight can be stable.
Tissue lost with dieting: with each successive diet there is an increase in the ratio of muscle loss to fat loss. During each re-feeding phase some of the muscle lost is replaced by fat, although regular exercise will help to maintain muscle mass. Fat people are better than thin people at maintaining muscle during weight loss; thin people who crash diet lose more muscle than fat.
Change in body composition. During a diet, fat is lost from areas where it is least heavily defended (abdomen / top half in women; legs/buttocks in men). After the diet, fat is regained in areas where it is more heavily defended. Usually on the thighs and buttocks in ladies and on the abdomen in males.
Heavy flows of NPY. Also glycol is released from contracting fat cells. These processes explain increased hunger and cravings.
Weight cycling is bad for your health. Full Stop!
Cravings for foods rich in fats and sugars because of changes in brain chemistry. Foods full of fats and sugars are not the kind of foods we want to be eating to achieve health, dieting cycle starts again!
Dieting fails: 97% of dieters are as big if not bigger one year after starting a diet; irrespective of emotional history. Yikes!
Thank you to The Australian Centre for Eating Disorders for this information.
If you are looking to diet to lose some weight, it’s probably not the answer, which will best serve your health. In some cases, it does much more damage than good. Working out what your body needs to be able to reach a weight you are more comfortable at is key and very much achievable without restricting food intake! In fact, from what I have witnessed in clinic, when you get your body in balance and experience how good one can feel, weight no longer becomes such a pressing concern. Freedom from negative body image thoughts is finally found!
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Nutritionist, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, Restrictive Eating, Body image, Picky Eating, Mindful Eating, Non-Dieting Approach, Healthy Relationship With Food, Healthy Weight Maintenance, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.