New research has shown that people who diet end up gaining more weight in the long term. Finnish Researchers studied 4000 twins and found that those who had dieted at least once in their lives were 80% more likely to be overweight than those who had never dieted. Those who had dieted more than once were twice as likely to be overweight.
This is borne out by previous research undertaken by scientists from the University of California. They also found that groups of dieters ended up fatter than the control groups who hadn’t dieted.
One of the researchers Dr Traci Mann stated “You can initially lose 5-10 per cent of your body weight on a number of diets, but after this honey moon period the weight comes back.”
So why is this?
Why after all your hard work, deprivation and self-sacrifice do diets let you down in the long run?
When you start a diet, your thinking is often not in the right place. You feel heavy, uncomfortable in your clothes, ashamed, guilty, and desperate to lose the weight. In this state of mind, punitive self-deprivation seems like a good course of action. However, most dieters cannot keep this up for a long period of time without feeling miserable or that you are missing out. So what happens next is that you cheat on the diet and/or lose motivation. The result is that you end up “coming off” the diet: eventually, returning to your pre-diet habits and behaviour that got you into the “overweight” situation in the first place. More misery, bad feelings, and guilt. Yo yo dieting often then becomes the course of action i.e. living your life constantly on and off a diet- this is no fun and can wreck your metabolism.
Diets promise you the world-think of all those glossy brochures, before and after pics (I want to see pictures of those women 2 years down the road, not at the point when they have just achieved their goal weight! And we may ask, what about all the other women who don’t continue with their diets?)
Diets are attractive because they present you with a way to potentially lose weight without having to confront your problems. Think of all those celebrities who have lost weight through dieting; their weight loss has been high profile: Vanessa Feltz and Natalie Cassidy are recent ones who spring to mind and look at them now, several months down the road. They haven’t dealt with their underlying issues and guess what they have put the weight all back on.
In a nutshell, the truth is diets don’t work in long-term, which means that they don’t work at all! Losing weight is not just about shedding pounds or kilogrammes temporarily (unless that is your goal of course). It is about changing your habits, behaviour and lifestyle, and dealing with the issues that made you over eat in the first place- in this way, you find a long term solution that means you lose weight and stay slim, healthier and happier.
In my next blog I will reveal a more scientific reason why diets really don’t work – it all goes back a long long way and it makes perfect sense!