Dieting and Deprivation can result in weight gain not lasting weight loss!
Dieting and deprivation can result in weight gain not lasting weight loss!
You wouldn’t expect a weight-loss program to actually make you gain weight, but it can. Sustainable weight loss is an often elusive goal.
A natural reaction to wanting to lose weight is to go on a diet. Generally we are looking for a quick fix and are easily enticed by magazine headlines that promise: “Drop a Dress Size in 4 Days”.
Inevitably we seek a quick fix in the form of a calorie-restricted diet. But unfortunately this only leads to rebound weight gain and being stuck in that dreaded Battle of the bulge.
Along with cutting out many of our favourite foods, we also get an accompanying sense of deprivation.
Like countless others, you may have followed this same path . . . many times: disciplined yourself and lost some weight, only to find you put it all back on . . . along with some brand new extra pounds as well.
Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome”.
Yet when it comes to weight loss, the tendency is, to repeatedly, cut down calories (and hope to fit in more exercise) in the belief that denying your body food and pounding away at the gym will help you reach your goal.
Unfortunately, this is the same thing many people have tried, again and again, without lasting success.
It’s important to recognize that your body is not a calorie bank account! It is not simply a matter of Calorie input versus calories used!
Effective, sustainable weight loss requires that we stop thinking in terms of an account in which the only deposits and withdrawals are in the form of calories and exercise.
The nature and quality of the calories consumed is very important.
Are those calories in the form of nutritionally dense foods, such as vegetables, protein nuts and fruits? Or in the form of nutritionally light foods, such as sugar, processed flour products, simple carbohydrates?
A 450 calorie meal made up in the form protein and vegetables will have an entirely different effect on the body to that of 450 calories in the form of a Starbucks Frappe, or white flour, processed food form.
In reality, our bodies are a complex, finely tuned and highly integrated chemistry laboratory. For this laboratory to function optimally, you must view yourself in the context of a much broader frame work.
Here’s a start:
The effects of Dieting. There’s a primitive part of your brain, known as the hypothalamus that controls your metabolic rate, or the rate at which you burn food to create the energy your body needs to function.
When you suddenly restrict your food and calorie intake, the hypothalamus is programmed to act as if a famine is coming. In a protective reaction, it slows down metabolism to conserve energy and ensure prolonged survival.
With lowered metabolism and energy, you require less food to survive. Your hypothalamus, however, sees this reduced food intake as a further sign of the coming famine and, in an attempt to increase your survival chances, triggers your body to begin storing energy . . . in the form of fat!
But we’re not done with the negative effects of dieting yet! While “dieting”, your body is functioning at a lower rate of metabolism; it’s drawing as much energy as possible from every morsel you eat. If and when you go off your diet, the body is still programmed to stockpile calories, adding further to the fat bank account.
This whole approach seems to say: “You’re damned if you do (eat), and damned if you don’t (eat)”. But, take heart; there are weight-loss programs that work!
Depriving yourself of the foods your body needs—or of most anything—rarely creates long-term success when trying to implement lasting change in your life.
So you can see how Dieting and deprivation can result in weight gain not lasting weight loss.
The overall outcome of Deprivation.
Going on a diet is often accompanied by thoughts such as: “I have to give up everything that I like” or “I should go on a diet because I’ve been bad or undisciplined”.
You most probably do not like yourself very much either, and it’s difficult to do nice things for someone you don’t approve of—even if it’s yourself.
In such a mindset, your attention becomes fixed on all the things you now cannot have, rather than on what you do have or on the foods and actions that would help you feel good about yourself
When we are emotionally focused on such a negative attitude towards our food intake, our brain begins to see that food everywhere.We end up obsessing about the very thing we are trying to avoid! (For further understanding of this pattern, see also, Our Three Brains.)
Also generally, as adults, we don’t like to be told what to do or what we should be doing. When we feel deprived, but are doing what we think we should be doing, eventually the saboteur within us will emerge, urging us to,”Go on have a little bit, it won’t hurt”.
When we give in and do indulge, even a little, we’re filled with remorse and guilt. Thinking we’ve blown our diet, we reason that we might as well indulge some more. Next thing we know, we’ve eaten a whole heap more.
In truth, however, if you “fall off the wagon”, don’t give up, simply get back on and keep going.
And if you are more than 10 kg (23 lbs) above your ideal weight, it’s important to be aware of the complex nature of obesity and the many factors that could be creating weight-loss resistance. It is also advisable that you contact your health care practitioner before making any major dietary changes.
Please watch out for future posts on the types of foods that would best serve you, a deeper exploration of how Mindset is affected our beliefs, the role of our metabolism and the role of the Starvation and Famine modes.
What have your experiences been of dieting? Did you find yourself always focused on what you can’t have? How did that make you feel?
Please leave a comment below or email your comments to me directly.
I am committed to supporting you to successful sustainable weight loss so that you can feel happier and healthier in your skin,
Sonja Gwosdezki. D.C.
Sustainable weight-loss Coach
Wellbeing Empowerment and stress Relief Mentor.