Here are the typical dieting rules and the physiological reasons as to why restrictive diets don’t work and why it may actually result on weight gain!
1. Restrict calories. When we artificially restrict caloric intake, when we simply don’t eat enough food, the body commonly goes into what’s called a “survival response.” This happens because the body thinks there is not enough food, “there must be a famine” which triggers the brain to signal the body to start storing to survive. Store weight, store fat, not build muscle, and to decrease calorie burning capacity. Thus, restricting calories does the exact opposite of what you wanted your body to do.
2.Eat less. In efforts to eat less, we may start by skipping breakfast, eating a bar or having a meal replacement shake. All this in the name of “being good to your diet” and lose weight fast. During the day is easier to eat less because we are busy and distracted with work. But as soon as we get home, hunger strikes, cravings increase and we begin to eat what is on sight. The body is overcompensating for the day. Eating less during the day, not only signals the body to slow down metabolism, but also, leads to overeating at the end of the day. Creating the opposite of what you want.
3. Low-fat. Most people erroneously have the false belief that “fat in food = fat on my body.” This is outdated science, and it’s shocking that it’s still being practiced. It’s the equivalent of believing the sun revolves around the earth. Fats - specifically essential fatty acids (EFA’s) - the name says it, are essential to life. When we are too low in fat, we literally become clinically or sub-clinically fat deficient. One of the symptoms of fat deficiency is inability to lose weight. Isn’t that a brain bender?
4. Fight hunger, fight food. Hunger is not the enemy, food is not the enemy. The nature of most dieters is that they fight hunger and food. When we fight appetite or fight the need for food, it erodes or our trust in our intuitive need for food and we put ourselves in a physiologic stress response. The fight against eating creates a low level stress physiology, where cortisol and insulin are increased, which in turn signals the body to hold onto weight, not lose any weight, and decreases metabolism. Fighting food and appetite creates the exact opposite of the effect that you’re looking for.
5. If it tastes good it must be bad for you. Like many dieters, you follow a diet that’s low in pleasure. You have the belief that pleasure is somehow bad, that if you eat something that tastes good you have “sinned” and if you have some, you’ll lose control. You live in fear of appetite, of desire, of receiving pleasure from food. As it turns out, the brain is programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Every organism on the planet is designed this way. Pleasure is not something frivolous. It’s a literal psycho-physiologic need. With a deficiency in pleasure, the body becomes even more hungry, more ravenous. When you keep denying yourself the simple pleasures of food and nourishment, the eventual response is stress and anxiety. The body feels deprived. So once again, we shift into stress physiology, and the results are excess weight or an inability to lose weight. Pleasure literally catalyzes the relaxation response, which promotes the optimum state of calorie burning.
These are just a few of the major dieting rules, why diets simply don’t work because they are destined to promote weight gain.
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