Three Reasons You Shouldn't Go On a Diet
The pitfalls of diets and why you should avoid them
A personalized approach to eating right is one that takes your lifestyle, motivations, and interests into account. Well-intentioned people trying to lose weight often look to a fad diet to take off a set amount of pounds. But, whether or not you actually do lose the weight, save for keeping it off, going on one of these diets could do more harm than good. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t do so.
Food is Not the Enemy
Many fad diets demonize certain foods and claim that cutting out this or adding that will help you lose the weight. The problem with these claims are two-fold: excess calories have continually been proven to be the primary reason for weight gain, which leads to the second point, there are no “bad” foods. Food is consumed not only for health, but for taste, nostalgia, and fellowship. Because food is a means to good health and also happens to create sensory pleasure, going on a diet that restricts you from these realities is detrimental to your relationship with food. By making food the enemy, some dieters lose their enjoyment of food, which could eventually lead to a fixation on weight or an eating disorder.
Guilt is Unsustainable
Even if you do stick to a diet long-term, guilt over “breaking” the diet may cause anxiety that causes problems in your everyday life. Deborah Kesten, M.P.H. calls diet guilt, “A moral projection onto food and ourselves.” To stave off guilt, plan to indulge from time to time. Studies show a restrictive diet may lead to overeating. Instead think about the foods you like and how they might fit in with healthier fare. In addition to counting calories, a recipe tweak, meal planning, or small portions could help keep you from feeling deprived.
Your Body Will Rebel
Aside from the emotional aspects of going on a diet, physiologically, your body naturally responds to eating less by slowing down your metabolism. If you go extreme in cutting calories instead of gradually drawing down your intake, your body will react with an impact on hunger hormones, fatigue, and for some headaches. What's more, as you lose pounds your body becomes more efficient, making it harder to lose more. Although cutting 500 calories a day has been the general assumption to lose a pound a week, that's not exactly the case. Study results presented at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science’s conference showed dieters can only expect about a 5 lb. weight loss from cutting 100 calories a day from their diets. That's only half the 10 lbs that most assume will occur.
Change is Key
Many diets tout certain timelines for weight loss and this is the principle issue that makes going on a diet difficult. Although everyone is different, any deviation from the diet's timeline of weight loss may make you feel like a failure. Eating is a normal part of life, and anything that turns eating habits into a race against time or pounds will hamper your ability to make real change. The lifestyle change it will take to eat healthier and naturally maintain a healthy weight is attainable without a diet book. Eat healthier, be conscious of portions, and get to a normal weight, but don’t rely on someone else to convince you that your doing so has anything to do with their "formula." Your food for your life is what counts most. A diet’s recommendations may give you a way of eating, but only you can determine if you live healthfully and happily ‘eating’ after.
What diets have you tried before and how has counting calories created a lifestyle change?