5 Ways Dieting Backfires


Dieting in our culture is the norm. It's so normal, in fact, that it's become the focus of summer talk, holiday talk, party talk, and of course many New Year's resolutions. Why do we do it? Because we think we should lose weight! (But that's another conversation). But here's the truth: dieting backfires!

What if we shifted our conversation into the reasons why dieting doesn't work? There are tons of reasons, but I'm going to highlight just a few in this post...

So what are some of the negative effects of dieting? Well, dieting...

1) Slows the rate at which your body burns calories

That's right...your body cannot recognize the difference between dieting and starvation. For that reason, once you begin to minimize your food intake...your body's biological instincts kick in. It then holds on to every possible calorie, and slows down the rate at which it burns those calories.

2) Causes you to crave high-fat foods

Again with those biological instincts...your body is starving, it needs fuel--and fast!! What does it crave? Foods high in fat, high in sugar, anything that will give it an immediate boost in energy. After all, it's only trying to keep you alive and thriving! Deny those cravings? They will only get stronger until you give in, and by then you'll likely be feeling verrry out of control.  

3) Increases your appetite

I bet you've been told time and time again (and also tell yourself) that it's YOUR fault and that you have no control around food. The truth? It is not your fault, and you cannot outsmart your body. Your body was built to literally fight to save your life every day. It will fight much harder than your "willpower" ever could. As I said in points one and two, your appetite is kicked into high gear from the perception of starvation. Think you're doing yourself a favor by denying your hunger? Think again.

4) Reduces your energy levels

Okay, so what immediately accompanies our dieting goals? Exercise goals! But what happens when you're super hungry and not getting adequate calories? You're exhausted! Which means what? You likely won't have the energy to workout. But you force yourself to anyway, and it's painful. No wonder you hate working out!

5) Reduces your ability to feel "hungry" and "full"

This is a big one, and one you'll hear me talk about often. Part of the solution to healing your relationship with food is learning to eat intuitively. A large part of learning to eat intuitively requires you to recognize hunger and fullness cues. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you currently recognize hunger and fullness? How often do you ignore those signals? Probably pretty often, right? Since we've been taught that our bodies are untrustworthy, and some outside source or "health guru" knows better than we do.

For every reason that dieting is encouraged, there is a counterargument. Dieting only backfires, which is great news because you'll never have to suffer through another diet again!  

My goal is to help you see the alternative, and help you understand that you don't have to torture yourself in order to live a healthy, fulfilled life.

So what is the alternative to dieting? Intuitive Eating, getting in touch with your body, Body Kindness, and learning to decipher what it is you're actually craving. When you learn to work with your body...your life, relationships and health will tremendously improve!

Now tell me...has there been a time that dieting has been beneficial or has worked long-term for you? How do your eating behaviors or overall behaviors change while you're restricting food? Comment below, or email me privately at lauren.m.kepler@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!