• Monique Jephcote

Dieting: the strongest predictor of weight gain

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

“If dieting programs had to stand up to the same scrutiny as medications, they would never be allowed for public consumption.  Imagine, for example, taking an asthma medication, which improves your breathing for a few weeks, but in the long run, causes your lungs and breathing to worsen.  Or, imagine taking a medication to unclog your arteries, but ultimately, caused increased blockage. Would you really embark on a diet, (even a so-called “sensible diet”), if you knew that it could cause you to gain more weight?” – Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

This way of eating helps those who are yo-yo dieters because, finally, they are not reaching out their hands and hearts in desperation for the latest FAD on the market, offering the false hope of what it is they have been desiring for years – weight loss.

The only promise of these FAD’s is total body disconnect and weight gain. A significant body of research reveals that dieting is in fact, the STRONGEST predictor of weight gain. We just can’t ignore that any longer!

“95% of the time, dieting results in weight re-gain over a 2-5 year period, with most gaining even more weight than original weight.”

A lot of people disclose their “diet worked”…. But upon further investigation, it worked for a certain amount of months/weeks/days before weight came back. Is this actually the definition of “worked”? It’s just not sustainable. There is no current evidence in the research that dieting actually helps to achieve long term the one thing that every dieter is after – weight loss. Even if you’re not into research, just talk to a dieter or a handful of people who have attempted intentional weight loss endeavours. Dietitians have these conversations every single day!

Imagine if we could create an industry which failed time and time again, feeding off the insecurities of others who willingly throw their money at it in desperation. - The global dieting industry.

Dieting doesn’t work because at the centre of all of us is autonomy.

We have a large body of research showcasing that dieting doesn’t work long term, is ineffective, and causes more harm overall. The prevalence of dieting, all the hype around this being endorsed by health policy, all the focus on weight, is really creating environments for eating disorders to thrive. And in recent years, eating disorder rates have doubled. Public health policies have not changed to reflect this significant problem.

But why doesn’t it work? Because of the simple reason no diet, no formula, no app, no health professional, no external voice, no program written by someone other than you can know exactly what your unique hormonal cues of hunger/fullness are, what foods feel good in your body, what foods satisfy you and your taste buds, how much your body needs to feel adequately nourished, what movement you and your body truly enjoy, and the mechanisms you have in place for dealing with emotions.  Only you have those answers.

As human beings, we simply have autonomy. We can only last so long until our autonomy kicks back in. And thank God it does! Having autonomy means we are psychologically healthy.

We are living in total disconnection from the one structure we have – our bodies.

Intuitive Eating brings you home.

It’s important to remember the sneaky ways in which dieting shows up. Dieting isn’t just the popular fads like the ketogenic diet, paleo diet, atkins, alkaline, detoxes (the list is ENDLESS) – but it’s anything and everything which forces you to actively ignore your hormonal cues of hunger and fullness, induces guilt or fear around food, removes entire food groups (in absence of intolerance/allergy), and induces binge-eating (often a result from deprivation/restriction) – note: this CAN be a well-meaning meal plan or a comment from a loved in regard to trying to control your eating.

Remember only you know you.

You’re the expert.

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to learning about Intuitive Eating: Be mindful of where and who you look to receive information and guidance from regarding intuitive eating. Ensure they are properly trained in Intuitive Eating as it is a framework that requires training.

The Intuitive Dietitian xx

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