A Veritable Buffet of Diets

See, here's one of the reasons I believe that diets don't work: if they did, there wouldn't be so many of them.

Writer Terrill Smith says that "Diets plans are like a buffet — there seems to be one for every issue, every food group and every body type. There’s even one geared for your blood type." The story originated in West Virginia Register-Herald, and not only has tons of good reasons not to diet, but science and research to back it up.

  • Many people lose weight, but almost all gain it back, often regaining more than they lost. Only 3 to 5 percent of those who diet and lose weight maintain significant weight loss.
  • Dieting can disrupt normal eating and lead to binge eating, overeating and chaotic eating patterns.
  • Dieting ignores internal signals of hunger and fullness, teaching you to be out-of-touch with your appetite.
  • Dieting can cause food and weight obsessions. As a food becomes off-limits, that is usually what you crave. When food is restricted, you feel deprived and spend more time thinking about food and weight.
  • Dieting can lead to disordered eating. Many specialists believe that the high rates of eating disorders in the United States are due in part to people dieting, losing weight, rebounding and becoming chronic dieters.
  • Dieting can erode self-esteem, confidence and self-trust. When dieting efforts fail, dieters typically feel they are the failure, not the diet.
  • Dieting can make you feel tired and lightheaded. Your body may not be getting all the energy it needs from restricted eating.
  • If a diet eliminates whole categories of foods, it may be low in nutrients.
  • Dieting can encourage size prejudice. You may become more critical and judgmental of yourself and others rather than respecting and accepting body size differences. Rather than evaluating yourself or others based on size, consider other features. These might include kindness, contributions to the community, and ability to laugh.
  • Diets put your life on hold. Live the life you want now. Don’t wait until you reach a certain weight or size. You deserve the best — now.
  • The best and healthiest way to get the weight you want is cut down on portion sizes, exercise at least 30 minutes a day and drink plenty of water. Remember, it is all about moderation, not deprivation.
(Adapted from: Berg, Frances. “Top 10 reasons not to diet.” Women Afraid to Eat: Breaking Free in Today’s Weight-Obsessed World. Hettinger, ND: Healthy Weight Network, 2000.)

My only problem is about the last bullet point: what is UP with people saying "the weight you want." As if you can choose your height or shoe size or hair color. You can't. And you can't choose your weight, either.

Still, a good article.

This story comes by way of the Disordered Times.

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Hope said...

I agree with you on that last point he made about getting to the "weight that you want". It just doesn't go along with all the great facts and info that he talked about above. So, I'll just ignore that part. I think he's right on with the rest of his points.


mary said...

That last comment was so out of place contradicting much of what was written.
Guess it shows how even the most well meaning can become caught in the illusion of health = a magic size!
That you can see the difference shows how far you've come!
I do hope that you find a way to balance all that homework with some fun. All work no play is very unhealthy. I've been learning some new crochet blocks just as a reward for all the work I have to do lately.

Anonymous said...

Short version of that list: You can not permanently lose weight by dieting...but reduce your portions sizes, which is totally not dieting, and you can!

But at least the first part gives me hope that someday we may break free of this cycle.

Anonymous said...

How did I miss that last point when I read the article? Glad you caught it! No article is perfect, I guess. :P

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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