If you are feeling guilty because your diet is now hanging by a thread, don’t despair. Diets are simply not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. They are only a temporary solution to your weight problems.
Research has shown that once you “come off” a diet, your body switches to overeating mode, in order to replenish energy stores. This is why people say that they suffer from a desire to eat everything is sight, once they come off their strict diet.
What happens on a diet is that the body is given less food than it usually has. So in the short term the body lives off its own reserves of fat. It gets thinner. However, there is an irony in this: genetically, we are virtually the same as our stone Age ancestors, who lived constantly with the threat of starvation. To survive, they had to have a metabolic system that would enable them to overcome periods of scarcity. As we are genetically similar, herein lies part of the problem. In the Western world we no longer have to deal with periods of scarcity- but we do have diets!
So as well as living off our own fat when we diet, another mechanism comes into play: the body also gets better at getting fat. When you diet, your mind wants to lose weight, but your body does not. When you diet, your body thinks you are unable to find food. You think: diet. Your body thinks: starvation and scarcity.
In the Stone Age, your fat-packing genes made you better at both survival and reproduction. Now, in this time of great abundance, they make you worse at both – more prone to heart attacks, and less attractive to the opposite sex. And the crucial fact is, the more diets you go on – the more “famines” your body is exposed to, in other words – the better you become at getting fat. Hence, why diets really do not work in the long term. So there’s food for thought (excuse the pun). You could digest this for a while and maybe you would like to find a more consistent way of losing weight. The secret lies in changing our habits and behaviour around food and eating. Eating normal food, eating healthily, eating regularly and eating when hungry is part of the solution and in this way our body learns to trust that food is available when needed and so will begin to work with us to reduce weight, balance blood sugar and will stave off cravings for all the wrong sorts of food.