The last thing you’d expect to find as a cause of obesity is dieting; it’s like discovering that abstinence causes alcoholism, exercise makes you fat or marriage makes you happy.
But that fact remains that one of the major causes of obesity, both physically and psychologically, is dieting; extreme dieting (which is commonly known as yo-yo dieting) and leads to a kind of ‘self-starvation’ that ultimately leads to illness and cravings.
People who are naturally thin have a good relationship with food; they don’t eat excessively but rather finish when they’ve had enough instead of feeling the need/want to clean their plate, just because the food is there.
They listen to their bodies’ signals, eat when hungry and don’t understand why anyone would want to eat when they weren’t.
For some of us our relationship with food is unhealthy; we gorge, eat the wrong types of foods in abundance (carbs, sugar, white flour, etc) and dodge the healthy stuff because we don’t find it filling or appealing.
Another mistake overweight people make is to binge eat prior to a diet, cramming in as much junk as possible because ‘the diet starts tomorrow’. This kind of behaviour throws the body into turmoil and actually simulates starvation. When that happens the body goes into ‘survivor’ mode and burns fat to produce energy. Sounds great, burning fat, but when the diet ends the body goes into replenishment mode and the fat comes back with a vengeance. This is how eating disorders escalate.
We cut down on our intake, focusing on bland calorific stuff to sustain us while it does nothing for our taste buds or stomach (which is used to being stuffed with goodies). We also pride ourselves on false promises of weight loss and gym work; hurling ourselves into repetitious and dull rowing machines, cycling machines, weights, treadmills and swimming that only the superhuman, or subhuman can persevere with.
And yet for misguided dieters everywhere this is the modus operandi.
We might tough it out on our extreme, unsatisfying, bulimia inducing diet for a short while, but eventually we will fall off that wagon straight into a bowl of full-fat cheesecake, deep fried and wrapped in bacon. And once we fall, we fall hard.
All of a fat sudden we ‘allow’ ourselves all the things we feel we have gone without. The weight we lost returns, plus some more and probably some more because once we start eating badly, we somehow lose the will to do the gym exercises we didn’t enjoy doing anyway.
In the celebrity world Kelly Osbourne is a very good example of a yo-yo dieter; her weight has fluctuated throughout her public life and it’s plain to see that her relationship with food is an unhealthy one.
But healthy weight loss isn’t a great mystery; it’s just logic and a bit of self-imposed discipline with a clear aim. Once you begin to eat healthily, on wholesome, quality food, you will start to eradicate the desire to eat junk because you realise just how much better you feel eating a balanced diet of nuts, fruit, vegetables and sugar-free drinks like, well, water or rice milk – all of which can be combined into some of the tastiest meals around.
Our modern diet is based on chemicalised foods that have played their part in the increase of diabetes, heart disease, alzheimers and cancer to name but a few common diseases. Stepping away from those types of food opens us up to a world of healthier living and sustained weight loss which we never realised was possible because we listened to the television with all its advertising and falsities too much.
Listen to your body and you’re one step closer to your goal and keep away from faddy diets and snake oil quick fixes as the problems will quickly return.
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