We always seem to be asking which diets works best, but what we should be asking is whether or not diets work at all!
According to American Neuroscientist and Author, Sandra Aamodt, who recently spoke to website Healthista, obsessing about losing weight actually makes us fatter. Here’s why…
1.Your brain thinks you’re starving
While you might think eating less food is benefiting your waistline, Sandra says our brains don’t agree.
A study at Rockefeller University observed what happened when obese people lost weight with the results showing the patients had developed some of the psychological and physiological consequences of starvation whilst dieting, such as being overcome with an intense drive to binge eat.
2. Dieting is stressful. Period.
The time spent on calorie counting, planning and food diaries is stressful enough but contrary to what people might think, calorie restriction puts more stress on the body which in turn can result in gaining weight.
A study conducted by psychologists explored two types of eaters – controlled and intuitive with results showing intuitive eaters were less likely to be overweight as they spent less time thinking about food, while long-term dieters and controlled eaters, are more likely to binge eat.
3.There are powerful voices in your head
It’s true that your body craves bad food more when trying to avoid it.
This is because of the leptin or ‘fat hormone’ that essentially tells our brain how much stored energy is available.
Dieting and weight loss can reduce our levels of stored energy and leptin levels which means food and pictures of food, become more attractive and rewarding to us.
4. Diets don’t work in the long run
Apparently 95 per cent of diets fail and most will regain their lost weight in one to five years.
When dieters begin to regain their lost weight, they gain fat faster than they gain muscle, meaning they must either replace their muscle with fat or recover their strength at the cost of putting on more weight.
5. Your metabolism will take over
The older we get, the less kind our metabolism is to us. As a kid you could eat anything you wanted without the consequences – now, not so much.
Whether we like it or not, or brain has a ‘defended weight range’ and when our weight fluctuates too far out of this the brain will go into overdrive trying to get you back to your ‘ideal weight range’ making it harder to lose and easier to gain weight.
6. Willpower can fade
Managing a food diary and counting calories requires persistence and willpower but while you’re fighting temptation, your body is again trying to bring your weight back into the ‘defended weight range’, we are then more tempted by calorie dense food.
7.Calorie counting is troublesome
It’s not uncommon to find dieters standing in the supermarket examining food labels but, according to Sandra, information found on food labels only provide an approximate amount of energy and are not as precise as they seem.
Often, food producers claim their product is low in calories in order to attract health-conscious consumers, but with deeper inspection, low calorie healthy snacks might not be as healthy as they seem.
8. Weight cycling recycling is tripping you up
Sandra says, many of us become weight loss recyclers not weight loss maintainers when dieting, as we go round in circles gaining and losing the same amount of weight rather than keeping it off.
Therefore, losing weight isn’t the hard part, maintaining the weight loss is.
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