If you're like me you've tried and failed at dieting time and time again. You excitedly start a new diet full of hope that in just a few short weeks you'll be swimsuit ready, and your life will be absolutely perfect! You grit your teeth and suffer through weeks/months of bland food, fighting off maniacal cravings for all the "bad foods", always feeling hungry, never satisfied, tired & irritable. You finally reach the end of your diet and you look great after dropping all that weight. Life isn't quite as perfect as you thought it would be but at least your skinny... After all your hard work you deserve something...a reward for doing so well. Just one small piece of that double layered chocolate fudge cake you've been dreaming of would be perfect...next thing you know, you've eaten half the cake. In a haze your out of control binging continues until a short time later you step on the scale and are horrified to see that you've gained back all the lost weight...in fact now you weigh even more. What happened??? Self loathing and depression set in, you realize you have to start all over again. It's too much to deal with. You have to numb yourself or you'll lose it. You head straight for the fridge...
Does this sound familiar? Why couldn't you make the diet work? When you diet, you are creating an artificial famine. Your body will lower its metabolism and burn fewer calories in order to survive. This is why when I was anorexic, I'd eat even a small amount of food and would start gaining weight. Calories are all equal to your body. It doesn't know the difference between "good or bad" calories. In fact your body can change any calorie, good or bad into fat. If you're restricting your food intake, your body will do this in order to keep you alive. When you go off your diet and back to eating your regular amount of calories, your body will still be burning fewer calories until it thinks the danger is over. This can take awhile and by then you've already gained back the lost weight plus more.
Through my studying I read of a man, Dr. Bob Schwartz, Ph.D., who owned his own health club. He was frustrated with the many clients who came to his club to lose weight. He'd put them on a diet but they'd all end up heavier than when they started. He decided to prove to them that it was just a diet, anyone could do it and be successful. He went on the diet and lost weight but after the diet was over he gained back the lost weight and then a little bit more. Of course he had to lose the extra weight so he started another diet only this time it was harder to lose the weight and in the end the same thing happened...he'd gain it all back plus more until one day he realized that he was very overweight and he didn't know how to lose the weight and keep it off.
Dieting is one of the two reasons why a person is overweight (unless there's a medical condition that causes obesity). A diet will actually cause you to gain weight in the end unless you plan on living the rest of your life eating the 500 or so calories a day your diet requires. The other reason for gaining weight is because of emotional overeating, which will be addressed in a later article.