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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Drop the Diet Mentality!!!

This week, we are starting a challenge to live "intuitively" for ONE MONTH.  Want to join us?  Read this post to get started. 

Today, we are going to stop dieting!  I mean it! STOP! Stop with the programs, the shakes, the pills, or whatever you are currently FOLLOWING.  Start living your OWN LIFE, not the life that someone else tells you to live....well, except for me.  You can do anything that I tell you to do.  He He.

The main thing that I want you all to do right now, this very second, is to DROP THE DIET MENTALITY.  I want you to stop thinking things like "how many calories is that," "I shouldn't be eating this," and "Is this the correct portion size?"  Why?  Because it isn't healthy for you!  Let me say that one more time...


You might say "But, Cindy? How can that be right?  'The right diet' will make me healthier!  It will teach me how to eat!  I will lose weight!"

Well, you MIGHT lose weight, at first, and you might even keep it off. But is it healthy?  Hmm...  well, lets see what the studies say.

Did you know that in 2007, a team of UCLA researchers reviewed 31 long-term studies on dieting and concluded that "dieting is a consistent predictor of weight gain- up to two-thirds of the people regained more weight than they lost."  (Mann, et al 2007)  Also, another study done on nearly 17,000 kids in 2003 concluded, " the long term, dieting to control weight is not only ineffective, it may actually PROMOTE weight gain!"  (Field et al. 2003, emphasis added.) 

portrait image of Dr. Ancel Keys
Dr. Ancel Keys
That is crazy huh!  There are so many more examples of how dieting is more harmful than good!  I remember reading in multiple books, Intuitive Eating included, of a study that was done in World War II, designed to help famine sufferers. This study was known as The Minnesota Starvation Experiment. The subjects of the study were 36 (ending with 32 because 2 men dropped out and another 2 cheated) healthy men who were selected because they had superior "psychobiological stamina,"- meaning they were in superior mental and physical health. Dr. Ancel Keys, a physiologist, conducted the experiment over a years time. In the first three months, the men were able to eat as they pleased, averaging almost 3,500 calories per day. The next six months was the semi-starvation period.  The men were required to lose 19-28% of their weight.  Calories were cut nearly in HALF! The effects of this period mirrored the effects of chronic dieting:

  • Metabolic rate decreased by 40%
  • The men were obsessed with food and often had heightened food cravings
  • Eating styles roller-coastered between ravenous eating and stalling out the eating experience...even playing with their food.
  • Several men failed to adhere to the diets and even struggled with bulimia, and one man was dismissed from the experiment for blatently breaking the rules and even stealing penny candy!
  • Some men exercised deliberately to obtain increased food rations
  • In many cases, personality changes took place with the onset of irritability, apathy, moodiness, and depression.
Once the men were allowed to eat again, their hunger became more intense.  They found it difficult to STOP eating. Weekend binges added up to almost 10,000 calories! 

Note that all of this was WITHOUT the pressures of celebrities, television, and media that we face today! Imagine if this study was done under today's pressures to remain thin! You can read about the full study HERE, HERE, and read a PDF HERE

 The problem with consistent dieting is two fold. First, it usually builds into a period of overeating. Second, when the mind gets used to ignoring hunger signals, they begin to fade and you don't hear them anymore, OR you can only hear EXTREME hunger, leading to ravenous eating. 

As we start the challenge of Intuitive Eating and listening to our bodies, it is important to understand WHY dieting is NOT the answer. When it comes to our health, all men are NOT created equal.  There is no blanket diet plan that works for everyone.  Do you believe that two women that weigh the exact same, are the same age and height, and are both moderately active, both will see success with the exact same diet plan? I don't.  I think that how we are build on the INSIDE makes a huge difference.  Metabolism rates, hormones, and moods make a difference in our health as well.  Therefore, losing weight in a healthy way means MORE than following a set amount of calories. 

Dropping the diet mindset is not easy.  After all, most of us have been "watching our weight" since we were very young.  You will be amazed that the crazy thoughts that you have go through your mind.  I still think to myself "I shouldn't have this doughnut.  I'll gain weight from it."  REALLY!?! Like ONE doughnut is going to make me gain weight!  LOL!  How absurd! I also think "Wow, I'm halfway through my meal, and I'm not sure that I even know how it tastes!" 

Keep me updated on your thoughts as you try this experiment!  What do you notice?  Do you still feel guilty for eating that piece of pie?  Do you enjoy your food more? Do you notice that you are even eating at all? What does YOUR body tell YOU? Write down the funny thoughts and post them here! We will all get a good laugh and it will help you to see that it's OK to drop the diet mentality! 

 I want to know. Anyone?  Anyone??

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