3 truths about dieting

truths about dieting

*caution: strong language ahead

 For the past month, every time I turn on the radio I hear a commercial for some weight loss product or the best new diet. Are you hearing these too?

Sometimes I wonder if I am just really cued into these types of advertisements because I help women who are consumed by dieting.

All of the commercials make promises, “This is the diet that will get you thinner” or “Use this product and you will FINALLY be bikini ready”. The bathing suit handle is really pissing me off; you can read my views about that whole thing here

Here are three truths about dieting you should know before you buy into any of these commercials:

1. Dieting leads to binging

Research has shown that people who diet have a higher probability of binge eating. The reasoning behind this is what my friends at Be Nourished call the Fuck It Plan.

When you diet, there are often forbidden foods. These are typically foods you find really enjoyable, but have classified as “bad” or “off-limits” for the sake of the diet. Over time, the enjoyable but forbidden food starts to occupy your thoughts and imagination. It literally turns into an obsession.

So, when you finally give in to the craving, the Fuck It Plan starts. It goes something like this, “Well, fuck it. I already ate it so I may as well eat everything else I’ve been craving!”

2. Dieting leads to weight cycling

We covered that by limiting what you are eating during a diet, you are more prone to binge eating. It  fits that the research also shows that people who diet are more prone to weight cycling. Weight cycling is when your weight goes up and down over time. 

The image below gives you an idea of what commonly occurs in weight cycling; notice the extreme highs and lows. To me, that chart looks frustrating and exhausting.

weight cycling from chronic dieting

3. People who diet end up weighing more than their counterparts

A study was conducted in which two groups of people were evaluated over a two-year period. At the end of the study, the group with a history of dieting weighed more than the other group.

Many researchers believe that due to this, and other similar studies, it is probable that if you were not a chronic dieter you would actually end up weighing less at the end of your life. Fascinating right? The desperate attempt to lose weight can end up giving you the opposite of what you were after in the first place!

The opposite of dieting is…

So if chronic dieting leads to binges, weight cycling, and weight gain, what is a person to do? 

Set Point Theory states that your body has a natural weight range at which it will perform optimally. If you want, you can read more about it here. Your optimal range is not dependent on socially construed body ideals, and it varies for each person, so weight charts and BMI calculators are not accurate indicators and should not be used. 

By finding a balance of foods that are nutritious and enjoyable, getting in touch with your hunger and full cues, and honoring your body, you significantly decrease the probability of a binge and your body will find it’s natural weight range. 

If you are interested in talking with someone at Get Centered Counseling and changing the way you diet, schedule a free consultation here.

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Tamara Werner

Tamara Werner is a counselor, author, speaker, and activist. Her private practice, Get Centered Counseling in Vancouver WA, helps women with food and body issues learn to love themselves, their body, their life, and their relationships. Her life’s work is steeped in personal experience, having fifteen years in recovery for anorexia, in addition to being a breast cancer survivor. An up and coming force in the counseling community, Tamara has been published in a textbook called Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions, and has sat on a panel at the American Counseling Association Conference, where she spoke to her peers on strategies and tools to use with clients struggling with eating disorders. Having a deep, personal understanding of what it takes to recover from this condition, she seeks to be an example to those she treats, to let them know that recovery is possible.