Have you ever fallen into the one-last-diet trap? It looks something like this:
Even though I always gain the weight back, I have a strong feeling that this diet will be different.
I’ll just do this one last diet, lose the weight for good, and then I’ll deal with my food issues.
I’ve sworn off dieting, but so many of my coworkers are raving about their success on this new diet, I think I’ll give it a try.
I’m going to be really good this time so this will be the last diet I’ll ever need to do.
Let me just lose some quick pounds so I can leave dieting behind and start focusing on dating and job hunting.
Ignores the Facts
While the desire to lose weight is completely understandable given our weight-stigmatizing culture and its obsession with unrealistic body standards and tendency to equate thinness with health, falling into the one-last-diet trap ignores the fact that diets don’t work for most people.
There is not one study that shows that any intentional weight loss program leads to long-term weight loss.
Instead, research has found that 95 percent of dieters eventually regain the weight they lost and up to two-thirds gain back more than they lost.
Rebound weight gain is not due to a lack of willpower, poor self-discipline, or not following the right diet. Your body isn’t wired for restriction. It’s wired for survival.
When you deprive your body of food, it thinks it’s being subjected to a famine and will do everything it can to survive. This includes triggering numerous compensatory processes, such as hormonal changes that increase appetite and decrease metabolism
Dieting’s Dark Side
While almost any diet can result in initial short-term weight loss (hence their allure!), the most predictable outcome of dieting is weight cycling (yo-yo dieting), which can have a detrimental impact on your physical and mental health.
Not only can dieting result in weight cycling, it can also lead to food and body preoccupation, intense food cravings, chronic overeating, binge eating, secret eating, disordered eating, eating disorders, guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, social isolation, reduced metabolism, elevated cholesterol and more.
I love what the originators of Intuitive Eating have to say about the futility of dieting and the harm it can cause:
“If dieting programs had to stand up to the same scrutiny as medication, they would never be allowed for public consumption. Imagine, for example, taking an asthma medication, which improves your breathing for a few weeks, but in the long run, causes your lungs and breathing to worsen.”
Be Informed, Be Honest
As I said, the desire to diet and lose weight is completely understandable.
However, I think it’s critical that before embarking on yet another diet, you are fully informed of ALL the potential outcomes—especially all the stuff the diet ads and success stories don’t warn you about.
I also think it’s important to be really honest with yourself when it comes to your own personal experience with dieting.
Would you describe it as successful?
How has it affected you physically, mentally, emotionally and socially?
How has it impacted your relationship with food and your body?
Is it truly aligned with what you value the most in your life?
Dieting Won’t Bring You Peace
If you want a more peaceful and accepting relationship with your body, it can’t be achieved through dieting.
Rather than put all your energy toward depriving yourself for a short-term result, what if you put it towards healing your relationship with food and your body so you can avoid the traps and get off the dieting roller coaster once and for all?