Dieting literally refers to restricting oneself – either through consuming less calories or limiting oneself to specific foods.
According to Slate, 97 percent of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within three years.
Now, maybe it’s not entirely our fault. Take findings from Traci Mann for example, who has been responsible for conducting extensive research into eating habits and self-control for two decades. Traci found that diets don’t work because they lead to neurological, hormonal and biological changes, that make us notice food more, become hungrier and preserve more calories, respectively.
It’s important to note here that prolonged or extreme dieting leads to a slowed metabolism, which prompts your body to store more calories in adipose (fat) tissue.
For myself personally – dieting was always so difficult because it involved the process of breaking bad habits – like that late-night sweet treat that became comforting. For many of us, who lead busy lives and endure stressful schedules, we may become overwhelmed when we examine all of the “bad” habits – as in unhealthy food and lifestyle choices – that we engage in.
According to John Foreyt, PhD and director of the Baylor College of Medicine Behavioral Research Center, any type of stress can revert one back to old habits. And as we all know, old habits die hard.
Registered Dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet, Keri Gans, doesn’t believe in diets either. She also doesn’t support the practice of labeling foods as good or bad. For Keri, no food is off limits.
“Deprivation almost always leads to overeating. Instead, a person should learn to eat those foods they really love in a healthier way. For example, love pasta? Instead of enjoying a large bowl of it with a creamy sauce, try a smaller portion of the actual pasta and top with lots of veggies and grilled shrimp. Changing our eating habits take time and commitment, but the end result is totally worth it.”
Key takeaway: don’t eliminate all of your bad food and lifestyle choices at one time. In fact, don’t even think about eliminating. Instead, consciously add healthier choices to your life, mastering one before moving on to the next. In time, you'll be on the road to a healthier, fitter and happier you.