NO diet – living beyond food rules!
26th September, 20140 Comments
Written by: Jo Withers Registered Dietitian
Have you ever followed a calorie restricted diet?
Have you ever tried a particular diet such as the Dukan diet?
If you have answered yes you may have tried this in an attempt to lose a few pounds?
There are three main problems with the conventional methods to lose weight. Firstly the conventional method for weight management is centred on the energy balance equation – energy in = energy out, and any remainder will be stored as fat. Secondly, a calorie restricted diet often makes people too hungry which can lead to overeating. Thirdly this approach doesn’t consider the socio-cultural factors that influence food choices and how these factors influence dietary patterns.
The energy balance equation works in theory and in machines but unfortunately in real life and in real bodies the scientific evidence consistently shows that people - even when fed the same number of excess calories - will gain and lose weight at different rates. This was found out in one of the biggest studies of its type carried out by Ancel Keys in the 1950’s.
In reference to following a food plan or calorie restricted diet, it can be a good step towards improving your relationship with food especially if your dietary patterns are chaotic. However problems often arise when you are unable to follow the plan due to food availability such as, when you are on holiday, or invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Food panic sets in and feelings of guilt may follow as you break the food rules. Then feelings of despair can disrupt your thinking and you find yourself returning back to food habits that you were trying to change. And the phrase 'I’ll start the diet again tomorrow' echo in your thoughts.
Finally, conventional methods focus more on what you eat. Of course a trained professional will consider your social, medical and diet history when they recommend dietary goals. However to get the best long term results it can be really useful to work with a professional who can help you consider why, when, where and how you are investing your energy in making food choices.
Do you eat when you’re not hungry? If so why? And how will you know when to stop?
The thing is our bodies are set up to know what a healthy weight is for us and it achieves this by sending out signals of hunger and fullness to tell us when to start and stop eating. Simple, if only! Over time these signals become quietened by conditioning and a reliance on external factors such as calorie counting or following diet plans to maintain a healthy weight, however this can lead us further away from a healthy weight and a healthy relationship with food and our bodies.
Evidence consistently shows dieting can lower self-esteem and body confidence, contribute to depression and lead to higher weights. Try asking yourself why, when, where and what am I investing my energy in to improve your relationship with food.
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