Maintaining a certain weight by regulating what you eat what dieting is about. When you are determined to lose weight, even an extreme diet seems possible. But just how long will you stick to it? That’s the real question.
Dieting takes a lot of effort, time, and energy. It takes days of struggle and putting away your cravings just to reach your ultimate weight-loss goal. However, your dieting efforts could actually backfire and cause weight gain. Surprised? Here’s why this happens and what you can do about it.
1. Binge Eating
Every diet often has 1 cheat day a week. This very day can prove to be your downfall if you have been dieting for a long time. On that one day when you can eat anything and everything, you may tend to overeat the foods you had been avoiding so far. Due to this, it is always better to avoid going on diets for long periods of time.
According to a study, dieting usually precedes binge eating and dieting can make people vulnerable to overeating.1
As opposed to binge eating, overeating may not be limited to a single day. Since you are eating lesser than usual, your brain may prompt you to do the opposite. As a result, your cupful of snack may become 2 cupfuls.
Yes, the body can be sneaky in getting the calories it thinks it needs. Dieting is followed by overeating, usually in those with a higher tendency to overeat based on their lifestyle factors.2 To avoid this, reduce your calorie consumption in phases as opposed to bringing it down suddenly.
Dieting can lead to stress and irritability. As you are deprived of your daily food, you are already on an edge. Unfortunately, this stress makes you want to eat more.3 A study conducted on stress-induced eating suggested that women are more vulnerable to overeating due to stress than men.4
To avoid falling into this vicious cycle, practice mindfulness. Eat whatever you eat with a lot of attention paid to it. Don’t let gadgets distract you. This way, your body receives the signal that it is being fed. Even if it is a small snack you are having, have it in peace. Mindfulness is also known to help reduce stress.5
4. Perceived Starvation
Skipping meals in order to lose weight? Well, the bad news is that your brain is storing up more energy to help you tide through a period of starvation. Additionally, people who go on diets for significant periods of time can even experience an obsession with food and the eating sprees soon after dieting can lead to weight gain.6
The way to work around this is to eat foods that fight cravings. Nuts, milk, and complex carbohydrates can keep you full for longer, reducing cravings right after meals.
5. Future Obesity
People on a diet consume fewer calories than they are used to. As a result, the body begins to use lesser energy and stores away the rest as fat. When the dieter goes off the diet, the body continues to function on fewer calories and stores the bulk of them as fat, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.7
Dieting and losing weight seems like a tricky conundrum. Most nutrition experts recommend replacing the calories you consume every day with healthy foods. So, use skim milk instead of full-fat milk to get your morning energy boost.
|↑1||Polivy, Janet, and C. Peter Herman. “Dieting and binging: A causal analysis.” American Psychologist 40, no. 2 (1985): 193.|
|↑2||Ouwens, Machteld A., Tatjana van Strien, and Cees PF van der Staak. “Tendency toward overeating and restraint as predictors of food consumption.” Appetite 40, no. 3 (2003): 291-298.|
|↑3||Morley, John E., Allen S. Levine, and Neil E. Rowland. “Stress induced eating.” Life sciences 32, no. 19 (1983): 2169-2182.|
|↑4||Greeno, Catherine G., and Rena R. Wing. “Stress-induced eating.” Psychological bulletin 115, no. 3 (1994): 444.|
|↑5||Grossman, Paul, Ludger Niemann, Stefan Schmidt, and Harald Walach. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis.” Journal of psychosomatic research 57, no. 1 (2004): 35-43.|
|↑6||Aamodt, Sandra. Why Diets Make Us Fat. Penguin, 2016.|
|↑7||Hansel, Gary. Two Cookies. iUniverse, 2002.|