You may be thinking that if you don’t stay on some kind of diet, you’ll just gain weight. Consider this: any kind of dieting involves a ‘starving’ mentality, which results in failure.
- Dieting encourages you to ignore hunger signs.
- Dieting promotes a negative relationship with food, which happens because you have to give up ‘forbidden’ foods and are eating foods you don’t really like.
This inevitably results in giving-in, which often leads to binge eating, weight-gain and you feeling terrible about
So, though this may sound radical; I firmly believe there is no good diet.
A definition of the word ‘diet’: to regulate or limit the food one eats to improve one’s physical condition or to lose weight.
It’s important to consume a wide variety of healthy, unrefined foods such as :
- Wholemeal bread
- Brown rice
- Wholewheat pasta
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Brown sugar
To ensure that your body receives all the nutrients it needs. Be cautious about eating a lot of foods that are high in calories but very low in nutrition, such as refined products :
- White bread
- White pasta
- White rice
- White sugar
It is also important to pay attention to your portion sizes. I don’t recommend following any kind of plan that tells you what, how much and how often you should eat, without regard for your body, as everyone is individual and each person demands something completely different. You just need to listen to ‘your’ body and change your lifestyle accordingly.
The negative effects of dieting are also true even if you aren’t following a diet, but still think like a dieter. If you :
- Restrict what you eat, count grams of fat, choose high protein foods while cutting-out carbohydrates
- Feel guilty for eating ‘bad’ foods, consciously or sub-consciously under-eat (which can trigger over-eating later)
- Use diet soft drinks or coffee to quell your hunger
- Even decide what you can’t eat based on what you’ve already eaten previously during the day
The Damaging Effects of Dieting on Your Body
Have you ever noticed that as soon as you go on a diet, all you want to do is eat? Even if you weren’t particularly concerned about food prior to dieting, all of a sudden you become obsessed with it. You find yourself preoccupied with thinking about:
- What you’ll have for your next meal
- Whether you can have a snack
- What others are eating
- Or even what you’re allowed to eat tomorrow and over the weekend
The mind and body are inextricably linked, which is particularly highlighted when you go on a diet. Your body is fundamentally equipped to survive during feast or famine, as both body and mind switch into survival mode when the food supply is considerably reduced. The body slows down your metabolism and it proceeds to reduce the speed at which it uses calories, in an attempt to save energy and your mind focuses on one purpose: getting food.
Suddenly, you may find it occupies your every waking hour, or your even dreaming about food at night. The message is clear: your mind and body want food!
After a few days of extremely restricting your food and reducing your intake, you’ll probably become more depressed and anxious. Although this may be due to changes in neurotransmitters, like serotonin, it may also occur because you are depriving yourself of things that are very pleasurable that aren’t replaced by anything else, which leaves you with a pleasure void. You may suddenly prefer to spend more time alone, as it takes too much energy to deal with others and your self-esteem may start to drop. Unfortunately, the more depressed, anxious and isolated you become, the more you’ll obsess about food.
Some people can hold out longer than others, but the result is eventually the same: binge eating. You succumb to eating something your diet plan states you shouldn’t, which makes you feel as if you’ve failed, then you overeat. During the binge you feel relief, at last you can relax and do what you’ve wanted to do all along. But you may also feel as if you’re in a trance and can’t stop yourself.
It’s almost as if your body has developed a will of its own and it’s going to feed itself whether you like it or not. As a result, you can end up eating more food in one sitting than you ever did when you weren’t dieting.
This is absolutely normal and actually a healthy reaction to a period of semi-starvation, a reaction that was common during primitive times. After a period of famine, it was natural and necessary for our ancient ancestors to over-eat. They needed to be able to take advantage of a feast when they had the chance, because the food could often be few and far between. To make this possible, their appetites increased after a period of famine.
So, the same amount of food that would have satisfied them during times of plenty, left them feeling hungry after a period of semi-starvation. The same thing happens to you when you restrict and reduce your food intake. Suddenly, you develop the urge and the capacity to binge, you no longer feel satisfied after eating a meal that would have satisfied you in the past. In short, dieting can trigger binge eating and leave you hungrier than you’ve ever felt before.