Why Are Restrictive Diets Ineffective?
As summer approaches, many people may be tempted by diets and products promising quick and easy weight loss. However, it’s been proven that 95% of people will gain back the lost weight, if not more, in the following five years.
Yet, we’ve all felt inspired at some point by someone we know who’s had spectacular results and is bursting with energy since starting a new fad diet, and think, “Maybe this time it’ll really work?” What makes diets fail?
Part of the answer is psychological. Restriction, which means consciously limiting or controlling food choices and intake to maintain or lose weight, tends to make us classify foods in two categories: good, and bad. Restriction usually goes through five phases.
Phases of Restriction
Honeymoon: We follow the diet to the letter. Everything goes according to plan, we feel great, and results begin to show.
Perseverance: Things are still generally smooth, except for a few exceptions that bring feelings of guilt, but we compensate by exercising more.
Stress: Sticking to servings becomes more and more difficult. We often, even continually, think about food. When is the next meal? What are we going to eat? How to survive an evening out at the restaurant without cheating? When we give in to temptation, we swear it’s the last time we give in to that particular food.
Loss of control: We still follow the plan, but sometimes indulge in “authorized” food. Still, we try to calculate our way out of it to maintain a calorie deficit.
Bingeing: We give up and let ourselves go. We feel guilty and have a hard time to stop eating. When we start to eat large quantities again, we gain weight and lose self-esteem.
In short, restriction leads to excess. Healthy life habits, including physical activity and a balanced nutrition are the best way to get back to and maintain a healthy weight.
By Marie-Christine Morin P. Dt.