We associate diets with all sorts, from well known diets such as the Atkins or Dukan diet, to different rules on food restriction, or even embarking on a ‘paleo’ or vegan way of eating.
So why do people choose to go on a diet?
There are many reasons why people choose to diet, but the most common reason is to lose weight.
The core concept of most diets is to cut calories – whether it’s disguised at cutting out whole food group like carbohydrates, or fats.
According to Linda Bacon, author of Health at Every Size, dieting does a number of things to your health.
* Slows the rate at which your body burns calories
* Increases your body’s efficiency at wringing every possible calorie out of the food you do eat so you digest food faster and get hungrier quicker.
* Causes you to crave high-fat foods.
* Increases your appetite.
* Reduces your energy levels (so even if you could burn more calories through physical activity you don’t want to).
* Lowers your body temperature so you’re using less energy (and are always cold).
* Reduces your ability to feel “hungry” and “full,” making it easier to confuse hunger with emotional needs.
* Reduces your total amount of muscle tissue.
* Increases fat-storage enzymes and decreases fat-release enzymes.
Another problem with dieting? It doesn’t set up healthy habits that you can carry on in your day to day life.
Diets are, on the whole, seen as temporary, quick fix solutions. Diets do not tackle the root cause of weight issues, or relationships with food. Most weight is quickly regained post diet. This then leads us to the emotional side of things. We feel unhappy in our bodies, ashamed, guilty and feeling as though we have failed. Another diet seems like the only solution.
This is not healthy.
Emotional eating disorders and other disorganised styles of eating mean that we create very unhealthy relationships with our food, and tend to see food as an enemy rather than something that will nourish and sustain us.
My ‘No-Diet’ Diet
This means not cutting out any food groups, and eating foods that suit YOU. Perhaps animal protein doesn’t agree with you, perhaps eating lots of kale doesn’t suit your digestion.
You have been living in your body your whole life. Therefore only you know what food makes it feel good and what doesn’t – the key to health and happiness is up to you and no amount of diet books and science will be able to change that.
Eat real, whole and natural foods. Treats are exactly that – something to have occasionally.
Enjoy food and don’t set strict boundaries.