In just a few weeks, it will be that time of year when millions of people across the country go for ‘weight loss’ as their number 1 resolution. For the crushing majority, losing weight will also have topped the list in 2015. And for many, for years before that.
That dieting has dismal success rates is no longer news. The facts and figures speak for themselves. More and more studies are proving that attempts to restrict or reduce food intake isn’t helping at all with the so called obesity “crisis”. Healthcare professionals across the board have given up and agree that the eat less, move more mantra on which current weight management approaches are based are not only ineffectual but actively promote long term weight gain and disordered eating (see below for the research).
We polled the members of our community and 76% would say they have an “obsessive” “unhealthy” or “emotional” relationship with food after years of dieting.
The jury is out. Dieting is pants.
Shall we all just stop?
10 good reasons to stop dieting in 2016…and forever more
1. You’ll stop putting weight on
Dieting makes you fat. And that’s a fact. Only a handful of dieters manage to keep any weight they lose off for more than 5 years. For most of us, the weight piles back on faster than you can say Kit Kat and every time there’s a little more. The longer you diet, the more you weigh. The proof is in the pudding (pardon the pun). We polled 189 women in our community and 75% say their weigh more today than when they first started dieting.
2. You will save LOADS of money
How much have you spent in an effort to shed the pounds over the years? And for what? I bet your bank account is quite a few pounds lighter, but are you? The diet industry is making a fat profit our failure (£2 billion a year to be precise). It wouldn’t be that profitable if the diets they sold you worked. There’s no business in a diet that works. It’s the return customers that make companies like Weight Watchers rich. On average, the women who took our Cost of Dieting Quiz had spent over £5000 on trying to lose weight over the years.
3. You will stop stressing about food and what you eat
This probably should have come at the top of the list because I can’t tell you how AMAZING it is to finally stop worrying and torturing yourself over every mouthful. If you spend your days obsessing over what you can and can’t eat or what you should or shouldn’t have eaten, you can breathe a big sigh of relief. When you stop buying in to the diets and the slimming plans and start focusing on your relationship with food instead, all of that ‘crazy around food’ stuff eventually stops.
4. You will stop binge eating, emotional eating, comfort eating, pigging out, treating yourself, overdoing it, eating all the time…
…or whatever you call the overeating that for most women comes hand in hand with dieting. You know how it is, the more you try and resist, the more these foods beckon. Being ‘good’ is always followed by being ‘naughty’. When you ditch the diets you ditch the on/off diet mentality too. You won’t need willpower because you won’t need to resist anything. And you know, the weird thing is that when you stop depriving yourself and trying to avoid naughty foods you end up not really wanting them any more. You say no without really thinking about it and without feeling deprived.
5. You will meet some awesome like minded people and be able to talk about what it’s REALLY like
If you’re fed up of dieting and even more fed up of the tedious diet talk that dominates nearly every would be slimmer’s conversation then you will LOVE being a no dieter. Have real conversations with friendly women who get it and understand and won’t judge you or try and give you dieting advice. Say goodbye diet talk and having to put up with endless dissections of the calorie count or carb content of your lunch. The community at Beyond Chocolate is kind, welcoming, honest and supportive. You’ll feel right at home.
6. You could become an expert at…whatever tickles your fancy
Women in the UK will spend an average of 31 years on a diet throughout their lifetime. They say it takes 10,000 hours of practicing a new skill to become an expert at it…what could you become an expert of instead of dieting? The possibilities are endless! Saying no to dieting frees up your time and your energy to do stuff that you’re really interested in!
7. You will feel about a hundred million times better about your body
When we can free ourselves from the obsession with weight and body shape, we can start to focus on the real issues that the diets don’t address: how to have a healthy, balanced relationship with food and our bodies. When you do that you may lose weight, you may put some on and you may stay exactly as you are today. It depends on how much you weigh now. It depends on how much you’ve dieted in the past and what those diets have done to your health. It depends on your age, your activity levels, your genes, your constitution. It depends on a whole host of things. I can guarantee you this though: when you stop dieting and start to focus on your relationship with food and your body you will be a fitter, happier, more attractive, healthier and a generally better person. And that you can be at any weight.
8. You get to eat proper food, that tastes good!
Let’s be honest, the problem with diet foods is that they taste just awful, not to mention that low fat, low carb, gluten and sugar free foods are usually full of dubious ingredients, chemicals and additives. One of the best things about ditching the diets is also ditching the low-taste, satisfaction-free foods that come with it and tucking into some properly tasty, satisfying food that makes your tastebuds sing.
9. You’ll stop beating yourself up and be so much kinder to yourself
Years of failed dieting erodes our sense of self worth and trust in ourselves. Dieters tell themselves it’s their fault they don’t lose weight and keep it off : it’s because you’re not doing it properly. It’s because I’m too greedy, I don’t have enough willpower, I’m not trying hard enough or I haven’t found the right diet. We go round in circles and feel miserable and unhappy so we try another diet and end up back at square one a few weeks or months down the line. When you start to transform your relationship with food and your body and begin to feel good about the way you eat and the way you look, you stop being so hard on yourself and that a life changer right there!
10. Taste the freedom!
The opposite of dieting is not giving up and diving into a life long binge. The opposite of dieting is learning to have a relaxed, healthy relationship with food and your body. Can you imagine a life without the slavery of dieting and constantly controlling your weight? A life without rules about what and how much you eat, without having to ‘be good’? Just imagine how it would feel to get up in the morning without having to face the dreaded scales; to get dressed and wear clothes you love and feel good in; to think of food only when you are hungry; to enjoy, savour and celebrate every meal; to eat your favourite foods without counting calories, calculating fat or carb content or feeling guilty. And how liberating it would be to feel truly nourished and satisfied, whatever you’ve eaten; to find a way of moving your body that you enjoy, and that leaves you feeling alive and full of energy.
And it all starts by saying no to dieting…how about starting now?
Mann, T. et al. (2007).Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. American Psychologist, 62(3): 220-233.
Field, A,E. et al (2003). Relation Between Dieting and Weight Change Among Preadolescents and Adolescents. Pediatrics,112:900-906. [Free Full Text http://pediatrics.aappublicati
Haines, J. & Neumark-Sztainer D (2006). Prevention of obesity and eating disorders: a consideration of shared risk factors. Health Education Research, 21(6):770–782. [Free Full Text http://her.oxfordjournals.org/
Neumark-Sztainer, D. et al (2006). Obesity, disordered eating, and eating disorders in a longitudinal study of adolescents: how do dieters fare five years later? J Am Diet Assoc,106(4):559-568.
Patton, G. C., et al. (1999). Onset of adolescent eating disorders: population based cohort study over 3 years. British Medical Journal, 318:765-768. [Free Full Text http://www.bmj.com/content/318
Pietiläinen, K.H. et al. (2011). Does dieting make you fat? A twin study. International Journal of Obesity, | doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.160
Saarni, S. E. et al (2006). Weight cycling of athletes and subsequent weight gain in middleage. International J Obesity, 30: 1639–1644. [Free full text at http://bit.ly/yvfnhE]