Did you know that conventional diets can actually keep you overweight!
How can that be? Diets are meant to help you right?
Well, we are told that they are good for our health, and that if we can’t do them then it’s because we failed, and our willpower is weak, rather than the diet sucks and we’re starving.
Here’s a graph I made to show you how much diets actually suck.
So, as you can see, they suck a lot! What’s more is that they can be downright dangerous for many people. Just click here to see what I’m talking about.
SO HOW ARE DIETS ACTUALLY KEEPING YOU OVERWEIGHT?
How are many diets doing the exact opposite of helping you to lose weight by keeping you over your natural, healthy weight?
BY ENCOURAGING BINGE EATING!
Binge eating could be described briefly, as eating an objectively large amount of food in a short period of time (often in secret), with a sense of being out of control, followed by feelings of shame, and guilt.
Binging has many causes, and many manifestations.
A common one that I run into is that when people are on diets, having restricted themselves for any period of time, they find it too difficult to continue with that diet and stop it by going on a big binge.
Sometimes the binge can be marked by whatever food is immediately available, and other times it’s all the foods denied to them on the diet.
DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU?
This way of binging typically takes place in the latter half of the day towards the evening. I find it’s because diets usually start out well intentioned from the morning (especially in the beginning of the diet), with more motivation and energy, but towards the end of the day when energy levels are low, and willpower has been pushed too far, cracks start to show.
Starving (aka most diets) is a guaranteed way to put your body into a defensive mode where you will naturally want to eat excessive amounts in preparation for another period of starvation.
But you might already know that.
WHAT IS THE REALLY SHOCKING WAY THAT DIETS KEEP YOU OVERWEIGHT?
They tell you to binge eat!
Diets tell you to binge eat to be healthy!
Now you might be confused.
When is it exactly that diets have ever told you to binge eat sweets, and chocolate, and cakes, and donuts, and pizza, and all that good stuff?
What is that diet called?
Well here’s the thing. They don’t tell you to binge on those foods, but they do tell you to binge on ‘healthy’ foods.
Many diets employ this tactic in an effort to fill yourself up on low calorie foods or drinks that can keep your stomach confused into thinking it’s full.
I call it empty-full. You are physically full in your stomach, but you are still craving foods because you are deprived, and because your body is not stupid. You can’t just give it more of one nutrient and think it won’t notice the deprivation of the other.
Examples of this encouraged binging include:
DO ANY OF THOSE SOUND FAMILIAR OR HAVE YOU TRIED ANY OF THOSE AS A TACTIC?
There are more, but these are perhaps the most common ones.
BINGING PROMOTES MORE BINGING
You may be thinking “sure! But those are all healthy, and chocolate isn’t.”
Sure, these dieting solutions may not be especially high-calorie options, but the behaviour of eating too much is very similar to regular binging, and we know that behavioural change is the real key to break free from dietary issues.
It is behaviours that become habit forming, and habits dictate what we do day-in-day-out!
If you are trying to find more balanced eating, then the last thing you want is for a diet plan to give you the same disordered instructions that you’re trying to run away from.
THE SIMILARITIES ARE SCARY:
1. BINGING MEANS EATING TO FILL THE VOID
Many binge-eat things like chocolate and ice-cream for emotional reasons. Binge eating on cucumber and hummus sticks is almost certainly going to be more physical than emotional, but regardless, it is trying to fill the void of hunger, and an emptiness.
2. BINGING MEANS EATING MINDLESSLY
When binging, we often switch off. Eating such large quantities can again be a way to numb emotions. If you are forcing yourself to drink excessive amounts of water to curb appetite then you are also likely to begin to switch off mentally to the process in an effort to avoid discomfort, be it conscious or unconscious.
If you have tried this, tactic or a similar tactic then you will know from experience that drinking water when you’re not thirsty, but you are hungry, is painful.
Being mindful is about being present in the moment and whatever it is you’re consuming, and feeling. Mindfulness can be used as a great tool to help you to find more balance in your eating, and curb overeating.
If however you are constantly ignoring your own body signals, it can be very difficult to ever find a normal eating pattern to stabilise your weight to a healthy size.
3. BINGING MEANS CONSUMING QUANTITIES THAT ARE POTENTIALLY HARMFUL
Too much water can lead to water intoxication, diluting your precious salt and electrolytes
Too much spinach can affect your blood pressure, and kidneys
Too much meat could lead to heart problems
Too much of anything is bad for you and will probably kill you
Diets stick to black and white, good and bad food. Real success in eating comes when we are able to trust our bodies to eat the right quantity of everything. Sometimes we eat too much, and sometimes not enough, but over time it will balance out.
Common diets attempt to keep you in a state where you can’t trust your body and so you never know the right quantities to eat because you’re following prescription guidelines.
4. BINGING CREATES A NEGATIVE ASSOCIATION WITH THAT FOOD/DRINK
Overeating or drinking anything beyond what is required, can set up many negative associations with that thing.
Think that if every time you see certain vegetables and you feel like the very thought of it makes your stomach turn, then it could be because you had to eat so much of it on a diet.
It’s a bit like waking up in the morning with a hangover after a big night out, and then if you see or smell alcohol that morning, then you have a visceral experience of needing to stay FAR away.
The very thought seems toxic, and to an extent it’s true. Your body has been poisoned. It is protecting itself.
With food in regular quantities, it is just food. EVERYTHING NEEDS BALANCE!
BE CAUTIOUS OF ‘ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET’ STYLE DIETS!
If a diet says you can have unlimited buffet access to any food then that’s a red flag for developing binging behaviours!
If you binge while dieting, what do yo think you'll do when you can't stand to do the diet anymore?
Finding the right way to eat for you is the only sensible solution. If you’re working hard to stick to the rules of an eating system that somebody else made up, then likely you’ll always be chasing a ghost.
I genuinely think that many popular diets might actually be more suitable for more people if they were flexible with it. Some might find real success with doing a particular diet for 3 days on/3 days off, or maybe even Monday/Wednesday/Friday. A diet might suit you seasonally, or for women, in sync with your menstrual cycles. The possibilities are endless.
The problem is that diets by their nature are traditionally fixed, and you run into problems when you are restricting yourself without flexibility.
That could mean that your diet plan says that you’re not allowed to eat anymore carbs for the day, apart from leafy green vegetables. What your diet might allow however is to eat unlimited meat. This could lead you to binging on pork chops and chicken breast until you physically can’t eat anymore.
Of course, the problem of binging repeats itself and you are still left with that empty-fullness again!
I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION
Feeling satisfied is vital to feeling full. It took me years to figure out that sometimes I need to just eat that ‘junk’ food, enjoy it, and get over it. The novelty and taboo of never quite satisfying your craving will constantly keep you hankering for those foods, and even if you do eat the forbidden food, if you eat it with guilt and shame, then you are not really enjoying it, and therefore it is still a taboo, and so you will most likely binge on it again.
If you would like to know more about creating your own nutrition plan that is tailored to you for the most effective results, then get in touch.