Weight is a side-effect of 2 things, how much we do and how much we eat (Intuitive Eating), not to mention our genetics. We are less in-control of these than we are led to believe. We have a biologically driven appropriate amount we need to eat and a limit to the total amount of physical activity that we can do or that is good for us. We don’t argue with that, then why do we argue with the amount our bodies need to weigh?
If you believe you eat for reasons other than hunger, depriving and restricting food in order to lose weight won’t work. It will cause more stress leading to the common outcome of more emotional eating and weight gain. (Low Calorie Dieting Increases Cortisol, Psychosom Med. May 2010). Deprivation always leads to a rebound in the other direction. (Eating Mindfully, Susan Albers PhD). Seek balance not restriction.
Dieting leads to more weight gain. According to recent research on the efficacy of diets, “We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more.” “Several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain,” said Janet Tomiyama, a UCLA graduate student of psychology and co-author of the UCLA Researchers Report 2007.
Dieting leads to eating disorders. “Although some will experiment with dieting and escape unscathed, 35 percent of “normal” dieters progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25 percent progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders”(Shisslak & Crago, 1995). “Eating disorders are the mental illness with the highest mortality rate (Arcelus, 2011), therefore early detection, intervention and treatment is extremely important and gives an individual the best chance of recovery.” (Ben-Porath, 2002; Friedman, 2009; Nolen-Hoeksema, 2006; Gould, 2007).
Good advice: If you need help, and lots of people do, with your eating or weight, visit a registered dietitian nutritionist. Registered dietitians are the only professionals that study human nutrition, human metabolism, biochemistry, anatomy physiology and counseling and they can put together an appropriate eating and activity plan for you. Save yourself the heartache and yo-yo weight cycling that will likely result from starting on the path of dieting and possibly an eating disorder.
Dieting disconnects us from our bodies. Achieving health and a healthy weight for life requires us tuning in to our bodies not seeking to control them.
When dieting one must subscribe to black and white thinking, a distortion of reality. There are no good and bad foods or good and bad bodies, all or nothing thinking is a primitive way of thinking and, “Many psychologists maintain that black and white thinking actually exasperates mental health issues like depression and anxiety.” (Huffington Post, Byron Williams 2011) When engaging in balanced eating and activity we find what works and what doesn’t work for us, and that can change over time.
College age men and women are particularly susceptible to developing eating disorders. It could happen to you, before you attempt to lose weight or start a diet, seek professional help. The rate of eating disorders among college students surveyed from one college increased from 7.9% to 25% for males and 23.4% to 32.6% for females over a 13 year period (White, 2011).
A Diet is not the answer to poor body image. According to Neighbors’ review of literature on body image disturbance “Overall, the results suggest that how a woman feels about her body is related to how she feels about herself as a whole, and that body image and self–image are connected. Depression has also been linked to the presence of body image disturbance among women.” (Body Image Disturbance and The Social Norms Approach: An Integrative Review of the Literature, Clayton Neighbors 2014).
Getting good nutrition advice and counseling is cheaper over the long run than engaging in dieting. If you figure in the costs of pain and suffering from yo-yo dieting and weight cycling and the financial costs as well, the choice is clear; seek professional help before considering a dieting path.
Does that surprise you? Did you think I was going to say “eat your vegetables” or “exercise daily” or even “get a good night’s rest”? Although I am a fan of these good health tips, the single most important thing that we are not doing for our health is cooking our own food. I get it. As Trevor Noah would say on The Daily Show, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”, but really it is something we should make time for. I am not going to say you need Top Chef level skills to keep it interesting. Some basic cooking skills that can be acquired through youtube or a google search of “how to make the perfect ‘fill in the blank’” would suffice. We are living in the golden age of free content. The world is or web wide oyster, why not take advantage of that?
I am sure you are thinking again, “ain’t nobody got time for that”, but really, it doesn’t have to take that much time. Just think of it as a rearrangement of your time. Instead of having to ask yourself 3 times a day “what I am going to have at my next meal?” you decide all these things ahead of time. You make a list and batch cook for the whole week, hell you can even do this for the whole month if you have a freezer deep enough. How much easier is it to defrost something that you made awhile back versus having to wait for food each time you want it or having to take extra market trips during the week?
It’s not all about time though, this is really about your health. When you cook you can control what goes into your food. If you are trying to watch your waist line, you can always use less high calorie ingredients. A restaurant doesn’t care about keeping you at a healthy weight. They care about you coming back and an easy way to do that is to hook you on copious amounts of sugar and fat that can be unnecessary to a dish. With a basic understanding of food chemistry, or internet availability, I promise you can make your favorite dishes in healthier, lower calorie versions, saving you not only cash but potential health problems in the future.
I don’t want you to think I hate restaurants though. I love me some date night where I can go to the nearest hot spot and order something I might be too intimidated to cook on my own. I live the San Francisco Bay Area for peet’s sake and I definitely take advantage of that. However, a Tuesday night is not a typical date night for us. A Wednesday lunch doesn’t have to come with a blooming onion. If every day you have your favorite “cheat” food that what makes that day special? Think about this and the next time you see a cooking segment on TV maybe you will pay more attention and your health care budget will thank you.
Stay healthy my friends,
So this is happening. I am joining the blogosphere, as they call it. I would like to take this time to introduce myself and explain why I think you should spend some time following my blog. I really do hope that you get something out of this.
My name is Diana and I grew up and currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I spent my 20's living in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara (go gauchos baby!). My parent's are both from Portugal. While living in LA, I was a personal trainer and also worked as a waitress/bartender in fine dining. I have always been interested in health and food, so going back to school for a Master's in Nutrition to become a registered dietitian nutritionist was a no brainer. I now am married with two kids and I work part-time at a local hospital. At this hospital I noticed that no matter what nutrition related ailment a patient might have, their weight was a contributing factor to their overall health. This realization has driven me to create a private practice of my own with the primary focus of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
So why do a blog you ask? Well, having spent as long as I have in school, going through an internship and then studying for months to be allowed by the state of California to practice medical nutrition therapy, I get annoyed when people put out false information about nutrition. It's a young science, I get it. Because of this things are constantly changing and advice becomes confusing. That is why I am here. I hope to help you make sense out of all the chatter.
Stay healthy my friends,