New research shows if you are on a diet, you will gain weight.
Yes, it is true, dieting is not only ineffective; it is not good for you. Plus, it is stressful! Yet, how can we exist in a society that values being skinny over being healthy?
You probably thought willpower is the key to being thin and your “ideal” weight. Actually, once again, the brain rules. Metabolic suppression, or your body’s set point, is a tool the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range. This is where your brain wants you to be — not where your doctor or a fashion magazine or your own negative inner voice wants for you.
For example, let’s say you weigh 160 pounds. Then, like the folks on “The Biggest Loser” you lose 40 pounds. How do you think your body will respond? The body goes into starvation mode when we diet and gains weight so it can to get back to that “set point.” And your body will use any way it can to get there.
What is one of the most important factors to maintaining healthy weight? Consistent exercise. A regular exercise routine that is consistent and fun is the leading contributor to a healthy weight. Exercise keeps the mid-section healthy and fit and the benefits on the heart and brain are well documented.
According to Sandra Aamodt, the author of a new book, Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of our Obsession with Weight Loss, “When dieters’ weight drops below it (the set point), they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding.” So eating brings us more joy when our weight drops lower than our set point.
Do you think it is any different if you lose weight over time? You may have thought so. I did. A 2014 study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found obese individuals regained about the same amount of weight post-diet whether they are on fast or slow weight-loss regimen. Again, dieting leads to weight gain over time.
Dr. Aamodt herself spent years fighting her weight. She says she spent three decades gaining and losing the same 10 or 15 pounds. She says, “After five years, 41 percent of all dieters gain back MORE weight than they lost.”
In addition, Aamodt expounds, “Long-term studies show dieters are more likely than non-dieters to become obese over the next one to 15 years.” She says the effect is greatest among female dieters who started in the normal weight range. Adding that, women she studied who went on two or more diets were five times more likely to gain weight and become overweight.
We challenge you, the next time you feel the need to drop a few pounds, make a commitment to move 5 to 15 minutes EVERY day. Restricting calories inevitably messes with your hormones and tricks them into holding onto those pounds. Consistent exercise is not only a great stress reliever, it will also help you to sleep better and strengthen your bones and your hormones.
So get up and MOVE! It is a game changer.