What to do when
diets don’t work for you.
Failing at a diet hurts.
For the first few days, you’re excited. You’re losing pounds! You’re on your way to the perfect body – and the perfect life.
But you miss your favorite foods. You’re hungry. You deserve a reward. So you allow yourself a little break.
Then it all falls apart. The scale creeps back up, sometimes even higher than before.
You blame yourself. You agonize over why that diet wasn’t right for you.
And then you start another diet. And another.
Why diets don’t work.
If diets worked, you wouldn’t have to keep starting them, would you?
You’re not alone. Millions of people across the continent are chronic dieters, and it’s no wonder. We are continually bombarded with media images and messages that tell us that we can’t start to live our ideal lives until we have a certain size and shape of body.
Diets, we’re told, are the only way to get there.
Yet obesity continues to rise across the population. Equally alarming is the fact that chronic dieting frequently results in serious physical health issues for the dieter.
Your psychological health suffers too: Every time you fail at a diet, you feel worse about yourself.
Are YOU a chronic dieter?
Do any of these describe you?
- You severely limit your caloric intake on a regular basis to try to lose weight.
- You think about your body shape and size obsessively.
- You’ve been trying diets for over two years.
- Your weight fluctuates more than 5-10% on a regular basis.
- You feel guilty, depressed, or hopeless when you stop dieting.
What is chronic dieting ?
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition defines chronic dieting syndrome as going on and off of calorie restricting for over two years, combined with an obsession with one’s own weight and size.
Chronic dieting, also called “weight cycling”, often leads to harmful physical and psychological effects including mental distress, binge eating, weight gain, nutritional deficiency, slowed metabolism, and heart disease.
Who are chronic dieters?
Chronic dieting is a growing epidemic in North America. According to the National Institutes of Health, 50% of North American women are participating in some type of dieting at any given time.
Chronic dieters are usually attracted by the idea of a “quick fix” for weight loss, but often suffer negative long term effects including
- Slower metabolism. When caloric intake goes up and down dramatically, you actually gain weight over time. This is because your body naturally protects itself from starvation by slowing its metabolic processes on diet days; when you start eating normally, the scale bounces back faster – and higher.
- Loss of lean muscle mass. Yo-yo dieting causes a loss of muscle mass along with water weight. When the lost weight returns after your diet, it comes back in the form of fat, not muscle.
- Nutritional deficiencies. Many diets exclude certain foods or food groups, neglecting important vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and beneficial fats. Over time, your body simply cannot function optimally with these deficiencies.
- Mood swings. Not only can you suffer psychologically from self-shaming and poor body image, but diets chronically cause fatigue by lowering your blood sugar and altering hormones.
Ending the cycle of chronic dieting
Currently, there is no social stigma to chronic dieting. It’s actually trendy to tell people about your new diet. The reality is that while chronic dieting is harmful and doesn’t work, it is a condition that can be successfully treated with help from a qualified eating disorder specialist.