We’re celebrating No Diet Day on May 6 courtesy of the eating disorder recovery advocate and Director of Diet Breakers, Mary Evans Young. International No Diet Day began in 1992 and has been going strong ever since, fighting disordered eating, crash diets and all dietary dogma for over 20 years. There are a few of us mamis here who have overcome more than our share of food issues so we embrace No Diet Day with gusto. Today, we’re sharing 20 reasons why diets don’t work. Just in case, you know, you were thinking about trying yet another one. Because you shouldn’t. So don’t! As Lady Gaga says, and we have to agree, “The dieting wars have got to stop.”
Read Related: Why Diets Don’t Work
1. Diets can lead to unhealthy attitudes toward food. When you’re dieting, you’re more than likely avoiding certain food groups or restricting your caloric intake altogether. Living in a state of chronic deprivation, even if you’re trying to lose weight for your overall health, can lead to very unhealthy thinking about food. And these negative attitudes can be passed along to your children as well.
2. About 95% of people who lose weight dieting will gain it back within 5 years. It’s science and completely proven that diets don’t work long term. Why work so hard to lose the weight if it’s going to come right back on? And then some?!
3. Dieting and then regaining the weight can lead to a diet-binge cycle. When we tell our children they can’t have or do something, it makes them only want it more. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods in an effort to lose weight only leads to bingeing on those foods later, only to feel ashamed of yourself as you return to dieting once again.
4. Diets take the pleasure out of food. Constantly measuring, tracking and restricting food takes away the pleasure of eating and enjoying it!
5. Dieting and obsessing about food can lead to eating disorders. From orthorexia to anorexia and even binge eating Disorder, diets can lead to disordered eating.
7. Diets makes you cranky. Especially deprivation of sugars and other carbohydrates!
8. It’s impossible to keep up a strict diet long-term. Impossible and no fun!
9. If you eat too few calories, your body goes into starvation mode and slows your metabolism. This is one of the awful paradoxes of weight loss. As you lose weight through calorie restriction, your metabolism slows and you burn fewer calories so you have to restrict more to keep losing. This goes on and on until your body simply cannot slow down any more at which point weight loss stalls, the body feels chronically cold and mental processes slow down.
10. Extremely low fat or low carb diets don’t work because you need a certain amount of both to function properly. You need fat for hormonal balance and brain functionality and you need carbohydrates to fuel your machine. Skimping on either for weight loss is a bad idea.
11. Drastic calorie reduction can lead to muscle loss rather than fat loss. When we go on a diet, we’re all looking for fast weight loss but are we prepared to lose muscle? That’s what happens when you lose weight quickly through calorie reduction!
12. Dieting only addresses one aspect of overeating. Lack of control over food intake can be the result of other emotional/life issues. Even if you’re able to lose weight, your underlying issues will still be there. A thin body does not solve life’s problems.
13. Everyone’s biochemistry is different. A diet plan that works perfectly for one person, may not work for another. From the Blood Type Diet to Paleo, there are diets out there that have worked for thousands of other people that might never work for you. We’re all different and no one diet suits us all.
14. When we don’t eat, hunger-inducing neurons in the brain start eating bits of themselves. That act of self-cannibalism turns up a hunger signal to prompt eating. Literally, your body starts to eat itself when it’s too hungry. This cannot be good.
15. If you don’t indulge your cravings now and then, you’ll wind up bingeing. You’d rather eat a piece of cake when you’re craving it than an entire cake in secret because you deprived yourself of it, right? Right!
16. There is often social pressure to eat. From ladies luncheons to dinners on the road for work, you will find yourself in social situations where you really should eat. If you’re dieting, you’ll find yourself riddled with guilt and confusion and probably making everyone around you uncomfortable with your food rules. Just eat the food.
17. Many people turn to food for comfort. Rather than diet, it’s better to re-think the way you handle stress. If you feel as though your cake cravings are a little more frequent than you’d like, examine the ways you handle stress. If eating is one of your coping skills, perhaps find a new one!
18. Most people don’t realize how many calories they are consuming. Throughout the day, you consume hidden calories in beverages, little tastes of food, etc. Instead of dieting, make an effort to reduce thoughtless consumption of food. Easy peasy!
19. Many people don’t pay attention to when or how often they eat. Mindfulness is a trend in the mental health industry right now, and for good reason! When you pay attention to what you’re doing, whether it’s eating or spending time with your kids, it means more to you. Eating amazing food should be something you’re present for and mindful of. Give it a try!
20. Exercise and eating healthy are the best ways to lose weight long-term. Eat the food and move the body. Easiest ‘diet’ ever!