A Diets Toll On Your Body
When we say “diet”, we could be referring to one of several things. A vegan diet, for instance, is an overall dietary approach that a person adopts as a regular way of life. Diet could also refer to the cuisine of a certain culture. One of the most widely used definitions is when the word applies to a restricted food intake with the goal of losing weight. However, as a weight loss strategy, dieting does not work. This article covers the latter definition of dieting.
There always seems to be a new fad diet. We’ve all heard of the Paleo Diet, the Mediterranean Diet and many others. Fads, by definition, have short life spans. They also enjoy brief and widespread popularity. For these reasons, diets are well suited to fads. Just like any trend, a fad diet may fade just as quickly as it caught on. One diet only endures until the next one takes its place. By that time it has run its course, people are already looking for the next trendy way to drop some pounds and you can bet that a new fad diet will come along to offer a new solution. Fad diets may vary in their details, but they all seem to have one significant factor in common: They put undue stress on your body and ultimately can cause you to gain weight.
Diets Make You Gain Weight
It may sounds crazy and counterintuitive to say diets cause weight gain, because when you first go on a diet, you might start to noticeably lose weight and feel pretty good about your new regimen. You’ll probably receive compliments and questions about how you’re achieving these great results.
The issue, though, is that these results only happen at the outset. When you decide to adopt a restrictive diet, you limit the calories and nutrients that your body can use to maintain good health. You may think the weight loss will continue, but your body’s job is to ensure survival.
From a biological perspective, when you restrict your food, your body thinks you are starving – so it goes into “protection mode”. While you’re on a diet, your body doesn’t have enough nutrients for optimum functionality. So it reacts by storing nutrients in the form of weight in case the time of scarcity continues or repeats. So, after initially losing weight, you can start to gain that weight back and maybe even gain more than previously.
Dieting Slows Your Metabolism
The human body has evolved over millennia to survive and protect itself. It does this very well indeed. In bygone eras, when available food sources were dependent on the cycle of the seasons, the availability of food would have been inconsistent and less predictable. There would have been cycles of abundance and scarcity, and the body adapts to those cycles by either storing or burning up nutrients according to perceived need.
The rate at which your body converts food into fuel is known as the metabolism. When your metabolism slows down to accommodate the change in food availability, your body is using up less of what it has stored for energy. Thus, it protects you against starvation and death. When you go on a restricted diet in the hope of losing weight, your body interprets this as a time of scarcity or starvation and it responds by storing nutrients and fat. The exact opposite, in effect, to the result you are hoping for by limiting food intake.
The body will store more fat and nutrients as you diet more and restrict your food intake, because it automatically takes the steps necessary to survive. Survival itself is the body’s number one priority, not having a flat stomach, which you might think is top of your list.
Diets Take a Toll on Your Body
Cycles of dieting and then not dieting take a serious toll on your body. When you adopt this behavior, your metabolism has to adjust accordingly. So the more often you diet, the more stress you are putting on your body. Your body’s way of responding to this kind of stress is to slow down your metabolism. So you put on more weight, thus defeating the purpose of the diet in the first place. For a better approach, pay attention to the nature of the foods that you are consuming. Make sure they are high quality and packed with nutrients. Plan meal times for times of the day that work in harmony with your body’s needs and help you keep a healthy weight. If your body is healthy, then your metabolism will function well and you will notice that you feel and look better in the long run.
See the article “Feeling Stressed: Ten Foods that Reduce Stress and Anxiety” for more ideas on how to reduce your stress levels with healthy foods.