Why Ditching Dieting?
Because diets don't work! Thankfully this idea is becoming more and more mainstream. Here are four good reasons for you to consider ditching dieting!
1. Limited effectiveness of dieting
No diet* has been independently proven to keep weight off for 3-5 years after the diet. That means the majority of people (around 95%) who try to lose weight regain it. This includes diets that are cleverly marketed as "lifestyle changes". In fact, you have a better chance of surviving cancer than of losing weight and keeping it off from a diet. A big reason for this is that diets are not sustainable for the long run and they do not correctly educate us about how to be in tune with our bodies. These outcomes for dieting occur across all studies- no matter how many calories or what proportions of fat, protein or carbohydrates are used in the diet, or what types of exercise programs are pursued. Furthermore, research into dieting ironically demonstrates that dieting is very a strong predictor of future weight gain.
2. Long term health risks of dieting, diet pills, weight loss surgeries
Based on medical literature, there is in fact many long term health risks associated with dieting and weight loss practices. These include: risk of gall bladder disease; osteoporosis; lowered libido; depression; anemia; hair loss; weight gain & weight cycling; disorded eating; psychological issues including clinical eating disorders & drug induced psychosis; and even death.
Furthermore, dieting divorces us from the inbuilt mechanisms and physiological cues of hunger and satiety, which impacts on our bodies inherent ability to regulate weight.
3. We don’t even know for sure that fatness is the problem
Emerging research suggests that fitness- not fatness- is the best predictor of health. So you are better to find some sort of physical activity that you can enjoy - and participate in it regularly- if you want to be healthy.
However unfortunately we are more familiar with the anti-obesity rhetoric & fearmongering about fatness. In actual fact: some research suggests that weight is a protective factor for various health issues; no study has ever proven that weight loss actually prolongs life; and some studies suggest that intentional weight loss indeed increases the risk of dying early from certain diseases.
So how has the misleading research about the dangers of fatness come about? Firstly, it is vital to note that studies into fatness often includes confounding variables that are difficult to separate and may impact on the outcomes that are reported (ie the other variables increase the disease risk as the same time they increase weight gain). Some of these variables include: sedentary behaviour/levels of activity; consumption of alcohol or heavily processed food; yo-yo dieting & weight cycling; poor healthcare & avoidance of medical treatment; stress associated from being targeted by prejudice; low self esteem; socioeconomic status; fitness; and nutrient intake. When research does control for these factors, increase risk of disease that is sometimes associated with fatness actually disappears or is significantly reduced.
Secondly, the diet industry is just that- a multi billion dollar industry, and a largely unregulated one at that (well, they consider themselves to be self regulated). About 95% of research into dieting and overweightedness is actually funded by that industry. Of course this reveals huge conflicts of interest. Lets just say, if you can invent/ hype up/ & contribute to a crisis and then offer a solution you are laughing your way to the bank.
4. Our bodies are designed to regulate our body weight. So long as we listen to our hunger and satiety cues, and move our bodies regularly, “intervention” by way of dieting is not required as we should be at our set point weight
We do not need diets to do this for us! Refer to our FAQs for what you should be doing to be healthy. However, it should be noted that regulating our body weight does not necessarily mean meeting the current, frighteningly thin beauty ideal. People come in all shapes and sizes. The dieting industry profiteers from making us feel as though our bodies are defective and selling us a solution that does not work- or at least not for long. Diets actually further disconnect us from the physiological cues that enable us to regulate our body weight. If dieting worked the first time, do you think it would be such a profitable industry? There are also other industries who are also implicated here, including the pharmaceutical, fitness, beauty & medical industries.
*Diet- we define as intentional changes a person makes to what is consumed/ expended with the purpose of losing weight