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Anti Diet

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Dieting may seem appealing at first, offering a seemingly simple recipe for happiness, success, and love. Just eat this, avoid that, take these supplements, do these exercises -- easy, right?


However, having worked with hundreds of clients, I've seen those promises go unfulfilled. In the pursuit of weight loss, you end up missing out on so much of life, constantly battling your own body. Moreover, weight loss is rarely sustainable. Over 90% of people who lose weight intentionally eventually regain it back, with two-thirds gaining back more than they initially lost. In fact, dieting itself is the leading cause of weight gain (and it's important to note that weight gain and being in a larger body aren't bad -- check out my article on Health At Every Size for more.)


Let's imagine an apocalypse scenario. In your normal life, you're accustomed to conveniently picking up meals at the grocery store, enjoying Friday night pizza, making a quick sandwich for lunch, and having trail mix on hand for snacks while on the go. Food is always within arm's reach, providing comfort and sustenance. But suddenly, BAM! Disaster strikes. Meteor, nuclear fallout, zombies -- pick your apocalypse-of-choice for this example. No more quick and easy food. The sudden scarcity would be terrifying. Many of us would rush to the grocery stores to stock up, but eventually, the shelves would be empty, leaving us feeling fearful, anxious, and longing for more. We would have to ration our food, focus only on essential tasks for survival, and do whatever it takes to get by.


This is akin to what happens to the body when we embark on a diet. It goes into survival mode, freaking out and slowing down the metabolism. It makes some difficult choices, such as decreasing circulation to extremities, leading to cold fingers and toes. Nutrients are prioritized for vital organs like the heart, resulting in less thick and shiny hair, impaired wound healing, obsessive thoughts about food, decreased hormone production, potentially impacting sex drive and fertility, among other things. The body is trying to conserve stores because it needs you to live.

 

Now imagine the scenario again, but this time the scientists find a cure for the zombies. The grocery stores reopen and your favorite restaurant starting serving those delicious nachos once more. It's time to feast! However, let's not forget the scary period we just went through, so let's make sure to have extra beans and rice in the pantry -- just in case.


That's what happens to the body when the diet ends. Remember, diets are not sustainable. The body fights back fiercely against living in that restrictive state, and that's actually a good thing. The body knows what it needs. Those persistent thoughts about food, the hunger pains, the fatigue, the overwhelming drive towards eating -- that's all about survival. Once we put an end to the diet, we start eating again. We may even experience a binge-like response. Finally having access to the foods we deemed "off-limits" during the diet brings immense joy to the body. It has work to do -- warming up those fingers and toes, adding volume and shine to our hair, healing wounds, boosting hormone production, and reviving our sex drive. And guess what? The body also wants to stock up that figurative pantry (the fat stores on the body) and keep some supplies on hand, just in case that scary dieting thing happens again. That's why dieting ultimately leads to weight gain.


Let's avoid this apocalypse response from the body. Work with Melissa to find out where to start.

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