Dieting has long been used as a method for people to lose weight. However the truth is that not only does dieting guarantee your failure, but it may also be the quickest way to gain weight. Yes, dieting actually makes you fat! It is commonly used because initially you will lose weight, but then when the “backlash” occurs you will gain it all back and then some. The reason dieting it is so effective at making you fat is that it changes you in 3 fundamental ways – physiologically, psychologically, and neurologically.
Being able to understand those 3 big words isn’t important, what is important is how they affect you and your weight. Each require their own separate article, and in this one, I am going to discuss how dieting changes you psychologically. Psychology has no formal definition, so to make matters easy to understand we are going to talk of psychology as “the way you think”. This article will therfore outline some ways in which dieting makes you fat simply by altering the way that you think.
(1) “All or Nothing” Thinking:
All or nothing thinking is when you are either ON your diet, or you are OFF your diet. People who have this thinking usually do quite well when they are “on” their diet. They remain disciplined and focused on their objective of losing weight. It’s when they are “off” their diet that chaos occurs. It’s a Dr.Jekyll vs Mr.Hyde scenario. As soon as Dr.Jekyll breaks loose, all or nothing thinkers break into a frenzy – late night binges, ice-cream gorges, all you can eat buffets, and anything else you can think of. Here is what goes through the mind of an “all or nothing” thinker:
“I’m off my diet so I am going to eat whatever I want and I can always go back on a diet if I need to but I don’t even care because I just want to eat this delicious food. I’ll just start my new diet on Monday and no matter what I am going to stick to that diet.”
(2) “Get it all in” Thinking:
“Get it all in” thinking is really popular among long term dieters. “Get it all on” thinking occurs between the period when you decide you are going on a diet and when you actually start. Here is what goes through the mind of a “get it all in” thinker:
“I have to eat absolutely everything that I love and stuff myself full, because as soon as I go on my diet I will never be able to eat these foods again so I need to eat as much as I can now because the is the last time I will ever eat these foods.”
(3) “I can go on a diet” Thinking:
Again this one is very common among chronic dieters. It’s most common among people who do quite well on diets initially, those who lose around 10-15 pounds before they relapse and gain the weight back. Dieters who have this thinking know that if they want to lose weight they can simply go on a diet whenever they want, and so they use that excuse to eat whatever they want. Their thinking goes something like this:
“It doesn’t matter if I eat all this now because I can always go on a diet tomorrow if I want to. In fact I should just eat what I want for the next week because I will only gain a few pounds at most and that doesn’t really matter because I can lose it easily anyway”
(4)“I broke my diet” Thinking:
“I broke my diet” thinking happens when you are on a specific diet and you end up eating something that you were not supposed to. Then because you just “broke” your diet you decide to eat whatever you want and to start again another time. “I broke my diet” thinking goes something like this:
“Oh my god I just broke my diet I can’t believe how much of a slob I am, I am so useless I can’t even stick to a simple diet. Well now that I have broken it I may as well eat whatever I want because it doesn’t even matter anymore. I guess I will just eat everything and start again on Monday.”
Those are just a few of the ways in which dieting can change the way that you think about food and your weight. If you are trying to lose weight by dieting then it is common that you will have experienced at least one or maybe all of these ways of thinking. It’s not your fault, these psychological “tricks” are hard-wired into our brains because we were never supposed to consciously restrict ourselves from food.
Dieting is a behavior that will give you short term results, but your body and brain will find ways to reverse that in the long run. Unless your goal is to actually gain weight, dieting is a terrible solution to any problem. It’s simply not good for you, and it is an activity that can never be maintained.
The message then is this – Whatever your goals are and whichever way you look at it, one thing will always remain true – dieting makes gain weight, not lose it.