Any dietary restrictions are not conducive to psychological or physical health. In addition, diets can lead to the development of eating disorders. Here’s how restrictions affect your mental health.
Why We Go on Diets
If it’s not a doctor’s prescription, we often strive to lose weight because we feel ugly at our current weight. And as a consequence, unworthy of love, of acceptance, of presenting ourselves. It seems that if we reach a certain weight, self-confidence will come, and along with it everything else will be fine: relationships, friendships, career and just moods. At the same time thoughts about the shape and weight of the body occupy a large part of life and a lot of resources are spent on it.
And until then it’s impossible to live as you want. “If I lose weight, I will wear whatever I want”, “When I lose weight, my life will be as easy as playing at meilleur casino en ligne“, “If I lose weight, I will start looking for a relationship”.
But self-esteem, built on such a basis, usually turns out to be incredibly fragile: a collegiate gram on the scale, a centimeter on the waist or eaten cookies can plunge us back into self-hatred, despair and the syndrome of postponed life.
Alas, diets themselves are usually not harmless either.
Diets Without the Supervision of a Specialist Are Detrimental to the Body
Our body runs on substances that come with food. Severe caloric restriction (more than 25% of the norm), certain foods, or eating only one type of food can lead to disorders in the body:
- Decreased motivation.
- Impairment of memory, speed and logic of thinking.
- Metabolic disorders.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Menstrual disorders.
The most dangerous methods of weight loss are starvation and schemes that are close to it.
At the same time, even non-extreme diets can cause significant metabolic disorders, increase the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases if you live in a “yo-yo cycle” (dieting, weight loss, and weight gain).
Diets Disrupt Eating Behavior
The cycle of diets, breakdowns and rewarding yourself with food can cause your sense of hunger and satiety to become distorted or even gone. It affects how often, how much and what we eat. A disturbed sense of satiety leads to significant overeating, and a disturbed sense of hunger leads to chaotic eating filled with unhealthy snacking and overeating. The balance of hunger and satiety is important for consistent healthy eating, and once you lose it, you face many obstacles to regain it.
Studies show that 25% of people on a diet develop full-blown eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating.
Restrictive Diets Don’t Help You Lose Weight in the Long Term
According to research, about 80-95% of people who lose weight through dieting gain it back. One-third of people gain more weight than they had before dieting, and 50% of the weight lost is gained back within a year of stopping the diet.
Moreover, such results are not caused by a “lack of willpower”, but by various biological processes of the body. But many people take the lack of sustainable results as their own weakness, which has a negative effect on self-esteem.
Is There an Alternative to Dieting?
Not a Body Mass Index, but a Biologically Acceptable Weight
This is a term coined by Marsha Herrin, M.D. and nutritionist, as an alternative to BMI.
Biologically acceptable weight is the range of weight maintained by a healthy body without the practice of dieting and exercise with sufficient good nutrition. A weight level predetermined by the body’s physiology and genetic factors.
This weight range may deviate from the normal BMI and differs significantly from the stereotypical idea of a thin body, but is the most appropriate for the individual’s body.
Striving for a biologically acceptable weight instead of losing weight is a healthier tendency.
The best alternative to dieting is to restore healthy eating behavior. However, a person who has been on a diet, overeats, has RPP or other eating disorders often cannot regulate their eating because of a distorted sense of hunger, satiety and need for different foods.
According to Allyn Sutter, normal eating is to sit down at the table hungry and eat until you feel full. Being able to choose nutritious foods, but not being so cautious and restrictive that you miss out on foods you just like. The ability to occasionally allow yourself to eat in moments of happiness, sadness or boredom, sometimes overeating and feeling uncomfortable or undernourished. Eating normally means trusting one’s body to be able to correct one’s eating mistakes.
To restore healthy eating patterns, Marsha Herrin suggests using the “rule of three” in which you should have three meals and three snacks a day, filled with the nutrients your body needs. At the same time, each day should include food for pleasure and the choice of foods should be based not only on their healthiness but also on a person’s taste preferences.
Working With Body Image and Attitudes Toward Oneself
At the beginning of this article we mentioned that often the motivation for dieting is the idea of thinness as a marker of happiness. That it is possible to feel good and do nice things only with a certain weight or appearance.
But this is an illusion that can be struggled with. Learning to feel loved, successful, and happy regardless of the number on the scale is unfortunately only possible by making the effort to destroy this illusion. Intentionally treat yourself kinder, gentler, and with the love you want to have.