Megan Lattin, MS. RD
Plan diet, go on it, ruin it, quit it, and repeat. If this mimics your typical eating pattern do not be ashamed. After all, you live in America- land of the free and home of the chronic dieters. Everyone is doing it. So is it working? If your scale just proclaimed “NO” from under the bathroom sink, read on.
Over a third of the American population is obese, and this percentage is rising (disturbing, yet factual). However, in 2012, Americans spent an estimated $65 billion trying to lose weight. This amount increased from: $60.9 billion in 2010, $60.4 billion in 2009, and $58.6 billion in 2008. These stats suggest that more people are dieting than ever before, yet more are becoming obese. My Pulitzer Prize worthy conclusion: dieting is making Americans gain weight! I know I just turned the heroin into the villain in the battle of the bulge but I have facts to back me up. Diets go against basic human physiology and psychology. Yes, I just told you to blame your failed diet on science rather than on yourself (you can hug me later).
Food is neither friend nor foe but fuel for the millions of actions and reactions that your body carries out on a daily basis. Physiologically, everyone has different nutrition needs. Basal metabolic rates (BMR-the calories the body burns while at rest) vary widely among individuals. Two people of the same gender, weight, and height could have BMRs that differ by over 600 calories. Hence, why when you go on a generic calorically restricted diet, without the tailoring of nutrition professional, it’s actually just a guessing game. When the body receives fewer calories than its BMR value over an extended period of time, the metabolism adapts and learns to function off less, thus decreasing your BMR. Once the body starts receiving the amount of calories it once was used to having, it stores them as fat because it no longer needs that amount to function. Being on an extremely calorically restricted diet wreaks havoc on your metabolism and sets you up for weight gain. Also, if you aren’t consuming enough calories from a specific macronutrient (carbs, protein or fat) over an extended period of time your body could experience ketoacidosis, muscle wasting, imbalanced hormone levels, and many other health complications.
There you sat, plugging your nose, chugging a kale smoothie for lunch, and wondering if anyone could see the pizza filled thought cloud floating above your head. Psychologically, we all want what we can’t have. When you feel deprived of money and receive a lump sum you’re likely to overindulge in money spending. The same mentality is applied when you feel deprived of food while on a strict diet. This is why diets die young and get cheated on with McDonald’s drive-thrus. The diet told you that you couldn’t have it, so you went and got it just to show it who was boss! After being unfaithful to your diet, you felt so guilty you had to start avoiding it. Only to miss how “healthy” it made you feel. You then reconciled and promised to never do the diet dirty again. Then you did and the result was the same vicious repeating cycle. Your therapist and I are both suggesting you end you’re unhealthy relationship (except I’m referring to the one with your diet). In fact, I suggest you break up with it immediately. As a reward, I will even set you up on a date with my fabulous friend: Nutrition Stability.
As a nutrition professional, my job is to help others live a healthier lifestyle through improving their overall nutrition status. Nutritional stability is not only how you lose weight but how you keep it off. It is a commitment to a healthy lifestyle that is logically maintainable. If your mind just pictured you eating chicken breasts and veggies for the rest of your life, that is not maintainable, nor what I am referring to. You want to create eating habits that can sustain your mind, body, and lifestyle for rest of your life. Nutritional stability is based on a mind and body connection that revolves around feeding your body both what it wants and needs. When you do this you will feel satisfied versus deprived. Keep a variety of healthy options on deck that you also happen enjoy. If you don’t enjoy any healthy options: you are not four years old anymore, it’s time to grow up and find some that you do (seriously though). In order to do this, I suggest appetite journaling. Write down what you craved, what you ate, and how you felt. You will eventually be able to see that when you feed your body the healthiest option of what your appetite is craving, you feel more satisfied and healthier over all. It’s about making healthy choices without depriving your body or making your mind crazy. It won’t happen overnight but once you break the diet cycle and venture down this new healthier path, you won’t ever look back at your rollercoaster dieting lifestyle. I wish you and my friend Nutrition Stability all the best, may you live a healthy and long life together. You may now kiss your diet goodbye.
Watch Jenna Marble’s hilarious spiel on trials of the diet marry-go-round: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RLAGxUbp-U&feature=kpBy Megan Lattin, MS. RD Contact me at MeganLattin27@gmail.com