April 17, 2017
The Science Behind Your Weight Loss Failures (and 21 Ways to Stop Them)
by Amy Sullivan, MC, RD, LD, CEDRD
How many years have you been dieting?
Ever wonder why it’s taking you so long to lose weight?
It’s probably because you’ve been focusing on weight loss.
You’re not alone. 45 million Americans say they diet every year. Yet the CDC says that 68% of us are still overweight or obese – and that number is increasing every year.
What other options do you have?
You’ve already heard that “dieting doesn’t work”… that “dieting makes you fatter than non-dieters”… and that weight loss has “absolutely nothing to do with your willpower or strength of character.”
Well, guess what? It’s all true. The science proves it. (More on that below.)
But what else are you supposed to do?
Step Number One on our list of 21 Ways to End Out-of-Control Eating: Stop beating yourself up, today. Start cherishing yourself – as you are right now, today. Because it’s not your fault. Dieting really doesn’t work for anybody. That’s why you keep failing.
The Big Secret “The Biggest Loser” Didn’t Tell You
Last year, Obesity Journal1 published a study showing that 14 of the original 16 “Biggest Loser” participants had gained back most of their weight. But that’s not the worst part of it.
The secret truth – and this is a big deal – is that six years after their diets, their RMR, or Resting Metabolic Rate (the number of calories they burn when they’re sitting) is still way down. The study shows that they are now actually burning about 600 calories less per day than they were when they started their diets!
You’ve probably heard that your body goes into a form of “starvation mode” when you diet. It’s a natural human survival response to keep you alive when food becomes scarce.
The Biggest Losers’ “starvation mode” never stopped. They’re not dieting anymore, but their bodies are still conserving energy as if they were. So now, to avoid gaining, they actually have to eat far less than they did before.
Six. Years. Later.
Think about that for a minute. The diet itself has permanently (or at least on a very long term basis) reduced their metabolism rate. Even if their RMR bounces back, they’ll still have to go on another diet because their weights are almost right back where they started.
The participants in “The Biggest Loser” aren’t the only people whose metabolic rates have been proven to be suppressed after diets. The same results are featured in numerous studies, including the respected British medical journal, The Lancet2, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition3.
Long-term lowered metabolism is how your body naturally reacts to your lowered caloric intakes. So it’s no wonder you keep regaining the weight you lose during a diet.
Three more steps you can take TODAY
(from 21 Ways to End Out-of-Control Eating)
1. Stop Comparing Yourself. The $60 billion weight loss industry glorifies stick-thin models and unattainable BMIs because it makes you feel bad. The more you think you’re not what you should or could be, the worse you feel – and the more likely you are to try drastic diets and dieting aids. This of course, comes with all kinds of stress, depression, and self-loathing. It also often comes with disordered eating like binging and emotional eating.
2. Throw Out Your Scale. You’re not going to believe this, but you have an “inner wisdom.” We all do. Deep inside, you know your boundaries, limits, and physical and emotional needs. The clamor of negative media messages and images makes it hard to hear that inner wisdom. But to end your failure cycle, you must find it – and trust it. Learn how Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT, did it.
3. Purge Perfectionism. Disordered eating patterns are fed by the belief that, in your current state, you’re inadequate. But what do you tell your friends when they feel they’ve messed up? That no one is perfect. That applies to you, too. See how Angie Viets, LCP, gets off the terrifying tightrope of perfectionism.
You already know that what you’re doing isn’t working. It’s time to accept the scientific fact that focusing on weight loss actually cannot work for you. There’s a better way to treat yourself, your body, and your life.
Right now, see if you can do any of these 21 Ways to End Out-of-Control Eating. If you can accomplish even just one of them, you’ll be on a better track to health and happiness.
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