Recently I was sharing the message of liberated eating on the radio. As I spoke of giving up dieting all together, a caller asked a great question:
What reliable science supports giving up dieting?
I understand his need for proof. After being part of The Great American Diet Era for the last sixty years it can feel dangerous to stop trusting diet rules and instead learn to trust yourself and your body again. But stop we must – the evidence is indisputable. Deprivation and hyper-control (the two legs dieting stands on) are two of the biggest reasons we are not losing weight.
Let’s take a look at the tip of the huge iceberg of research confirming dieting is not only ineffective, but actually does us harm. In fact, the data is clear; restrictive dieting is the primary obstacle between us and what we want.
A. WEIGHT LOST BY DIETING IS NOT SUSTAINABLE – a comprehensive review in the Journal of Obesity finds that no restrictive diets to date have generated long term results for the majority of dieters. Ninety-seven to 99% of us gain the weight back within a few years.
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B. IT’S NOT ABOUT WILL POWER – Restricting food to lose weight results in biological, physiological and psychological harm. “Adaptive thermogenesis” leads to inevitable weight regain and disordered eating. There are metabolic, behavioral, and neuroendocrine reasons you will regain your weight when you diet it off.
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C. DIETING HARMS METABOLISM – Thirteen of the 14 participants in a study of The Biggest Loser regained some or all of the weight they lost. Four regained more than they lost. Six years later they still cannot eat a normal amount of food without easily gaining weight because their metabolism was significantly lowered (by over 700 calories of fuel a day!).
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D. DIETING GIVES NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT – “Weight-loss money is money down the toilet.” This statement by Dee Eddington was aimed at corporate wellness but applies to individuals as well.
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There’s a mountain of scientific evidence that restriction makes human beings act and feel crazy around food. Check out chapter 2 in my book, The Liberated Eater, for more.
So, if dieting cannot work for us, what will??
The answer is recovery & discovery.
Recovering from the harm dieting has done.
Changing how you relate to food, your body, and yourself.
Finding your own personal lifestyle – the one that causes you to thrive.
It’s not a program; it’s a journey of change-over-time. And there are solid, specific helps to guide us along our way.
Here’s the thing…
- Until we shift our focus from losing weight to authentic well-being, we’re sunk.
- Until we shift our efforts and resources away from buying and trying the next new diet fad and onto discovering a lifestyle we can enjoy year in and year out, we’re sunk.
- Until we stop berating ourselves for not being perfect and begin to give ourselves the mercy and care we give others, we’re sunk.
- Until we stop thinking quick and start thinking permanent, we’re sunk.
I know it’s tempting to trust the next big diet thing again – we want to lose 40 pounds in two months and be done with it. And this is exactly the crux of the matter – if you really want to be done with it, there is only one answer. You must learn to live peacefully with food.
There is no short cut.
If you’ll leave dieting behind and take the first step toward liberated eating, I promise you, you will get far more than you bargained for. Yes, you’ll find your comfortable weight. Yes, you’ll feel far better. Yes, you’ll have clear mind-space for real living instead of food-preoccupation. Yes to all that and more… but, the real treasure on this journey of freedom is that you will find yourself.
If you’re like me and countless others, dieting has smothered you.
It has convinced you that you aren’t strong enough; it’s shouted with an accusing tone that “if you just had more willpower you could do this!”
We’ve felt shame, deprivation, confusion, and powerlessness – not to mention continual disappointment. But the truth is that none of this is you.
It’s dieting that’s powerless – not you.
It’s dieting that’s the disappointment – not you.
It’s dieting that’s hopeless – not you.
It’s the diet industry that should be ashamed – not you.
In fact, if you’re still standing, reading, trying, after years of dieting – BRAVO! You, my friend, have survived! You are one gritty soul. If you can endure dieting for years, you WITHOUT A DOUBT have what it takes to find your freedom.
SO WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP? If you would like to know more about how to reclaim the intuitive, mindful eater you were born to be, I have a 12 lesson course and daily support that will guide you step-by-step. Click here for more or just give me a call. I’m on your team.