Every way we turn we are blinded by the shiny lights of the newest diet. We are suffocated with messages that thinner bodies equate to better health, being more worthy of love, and even being happier. We are inundated by the flood of voices and images implying that if we do not have a certain body size/shape, we cannot be enough. We hear loud and clear, the message that thinner is better.
This diet culture that that is almost impossible to escape from, explains the obsession people have with the pursuit of losing weight. It explains why we shrink our world, just to weigh a little less. It explains why people value themselves based on the number on the scale. Additionally, it can cause us to judge other people’s bodies based on their size. A huge danger of this diet culture we are saturated with is the fact it actively, and unashamedly, promotes weight stigma. It does this by failing to recognise the fact that human bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that every single one of them is worthy of respect, love and happiness just as they are!
So, I can understand why a person would want to lose weight, or more commonly feel they NEED TO or SHOULD lose weight. But, is the pursuit of weight-loss effective or successful for most people?
Most dieters will see initial weight loss...but what diet culture never tells us, is that for 95% of dieters, this is regained after approximately 2 years and most of the time with extra weight added on top (it’s like a booby prize for dieting!) - yep you wouldn’t be the only one who has ended up HEAVIER than before the dieting! The biggest outcome of dieting is....not weight loss...but, drumroll... weight GAIN!! But no one ever blames the process of dieting for these results. Most people don’t suspect that there is something wrong with dieting, causing it to fail. Despite a huge failure rate, chances are that you would still blame yourself, and feel that you did something wrong and you failed. You would feel guilty and demoralised.
These feelings of failure, being bad or not good enough are largely due to the fact that we are bombarded with messages that diets do in fact work. So why shouldn’t they for us? Because, you know, those captivating before and after photos we see advertising the ‘success’ of all of these trendy new diets can’t be lying can they? Can they? Maybe they are not ‘lying’ per se, but they are most definitely deceitful. Those before and after photos and testimonials stating that the diet is ‘successful’ only show a snippet of the dieting story; only the introduction, not the middle (weight regain) or ending (being heavier than before the dieting began). It is the definition of teasing really, they show us the part that is intriguing and lures us in, but never show us how the story will end up. There are never photos of the dieter 3 or 5 years down the track…ever wondered why that was? The dieting industry, the big, big, big dieting industry, sell their products on the premise of that initial weight loss a dieter will see. They sell that image that they have brainwashed us into believing we need to achieve and can achieve. But, they fail to illustrate that this image of weight loss success will be only a fleeting dot in the dieters rear vision mirror on the road to weight regain.
Blaming ourselves for ‘failing’ a diet seems ludicrous to me, considering science tells us that it is the process of dieting itself that is covertly setting up physiological and psychological mechanisms within our body to regain any weight lost. The food restriction, lower energy intake, the initial body fat losses, the sense of deprivation from favourite foods, in other words the actual diet, is lining up the bodies dominoes for failure. The harder you try at restricting foods, the harder your body and mind fight back to counteract your attack and survive the self-imposed famine upon it.
If you have regained weight after dieting- you have not failed, your body did exactly as it is designed to do. The diet set your body up to react so the diet failed you, diet culture failed you! You did not fail the diet.
Here are some of the many complex biological processes our amazingly intuitive bodies put into place to counteract weight loss, the things diet culture never reveals and the reasons that diets are not successful for most people:
So, the first take home message I would like you to well, take home, is to not blame yourself for a dieting failure. If you have attempted to lose weight, I get why you would be driven to do that. If the diet did not work, and you either didn't lose any weight or you have regained some, all or more weight, I get that too. You didn't do anything wrong or not try hard enough. You didn't fail.
The second thing I want you to know is that it is absolutely okay to not be pursuing something that is unlikely to be successful anyway. You are allowed to not be trying to lose weight. It is okay to not be dieting or restricting food in order to make your body smaller. You can be healthier and happier in the body you are in if you change the focus. You can focus on putting some healthy nutrition strategies in place which are health and well-being focused not restriction and weight-loss focused. You can focus on the successes of your behaviour changes, not the number on the scale changes.
On and off dieting over years is not healthy, so if you are sick of this fruitless exercise, there is an alternative to the next fad diet. Talk to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian for some non-judgmental, individualised health-focused advice on implementing some nutrition strategies which will send you on the path to better health...instead of the downward spiral of yo-yo dieting.
Book a Free (no obligation) Inquiry Call, or an Initial Appointment here to learn how you can ditch the dieting roller-coaster and get on the right track.
So, restricting energy/calorie intake in the pursuit if weight loss really isn't likely to be successful. I think many people do know this by now, despite the deceitful messages that are thrown in our faces every single day. So, I do hear many people say, "Well it may not work, but what's the harm in trying, right?'. Weeeeell, that's a question to answer in another blog post! Weight-loss is often not a harmless pursuit, there are many negative impacts to our well-being as a result of dieting.
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