Diets Are Making You Fat (And What You Should Do Instead)

Diets aren’t making us thin. They’re making us fat. I know that’s a bold statement to make, but as you start to read what I’m about to tell you, everything will begin to make sense.

You will find out what the diet industry would love everyone to be oblivious to, and the shocking effects diets have on our psychological and physiological state. You will learn how to give up diets and be a healthier weight than ever. Finally, you will discover the secrets of the girl who appears ‘naturally thin’.

I won’t be advocating an alternative way of eating or preaching some new fandangle diet of my own. I will simply give you the knowledge to rise above all of that, and listen to your own diet system – your mind and body.

What the diet industry doesn’t want you to know

Did you know that the diet industry is worth £2billion in the UK? It’s hardly surprising with one in four British adults now reported as obese. Diet companies are raking in the profits, as they know people will go to any length to lose weight quickly.

Here’s the sticking point. If diets worked, wouldn’t we all be thin? We’d choose one diet, lose the weight and our problem would be solved. It wouldn’t be such good news for the diet companies though. They’d go rapidly be out of business!

Most dieters gain all of their weight back after a diet, and a lot of them gain even more. If all seasoned dieters had this knowledge, the diet companies would lose their customers. This is something they desperately don’t want to do, so they churn out diets that promise quicker, bigger and more extreme results.

They amp up their marketing team, they get inside your head and they convince you that you need what they’re offering.

Don’t fall for it.

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Diets work, but only in the short term

There’s no denying that diets work, but only for the short term, and at a cost. If you restrict any food group for a sustained period of time, you’ll be in a calorie deficit. If you’re taking in fewer calories than your body needs, it will be forced to lose the weight. However, diets are just a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

Think of diets like sticking piece of sticky tape over a leaking hole in the ceiling. You’re just covering the problem up. Yes, the tape will hold for a while to prevent any water from falling, but sooner or later the pressure of the water will become too much, and the tape will break.

We all want freedom; it’s in our nature. As soon as we deprive ourselves of something we can usually have, we feel restricted. Our brain doesn’t respond well to restrictions, and in the case of food, only makes us desire it even more.

Have you ever told yourself you can’t have something, and all of a sudden that’s all you can think about? You might say to yourself “that’s it, I’m not having any more sweets or chocolate.” You might not even eat it all that often, but as soon as you gave up your freedom of choice, that’s all you craved.

As you walk the aisles of the supermarket the special offer aisles seem to take on psychedelic colour. You’re transfixed; your palms get sweaty thinking about the taste. You feel panicked walking away from the stuff, knowing you can’t have it but that’s just making you want it even more. The pressure is building up and you don’t know how long you can take it for.

Sooner or later that tape is going to burst. It’s only a matter of time before you’re going to go fill up your trolley with all the chocolate you’ve been dreaming about and devour it until you feel sick.

Diets require you to follow rules and restrictions, but doing this requires tremendous amounts of willpower. Our willpower is limited, and so diets are almost always set up to fail.

What we resist persists, and if we resist certain foods because our diet tells us we can’t have them, our brains will find a way to eventually make us give in.

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The Minnesota Starvation Experiment

In 1944, Professor Ancel Keys ran an experiment where 36 men volunteered to live on a diet of just 1500 calories for 6 months. The reason for the experiment is that The Second World War created conditions whereby millions of people experienced famine, and he wanted to examine the social psychological, and physiological effects these people would be facing.

The men were housed in windowless rooms and were given a program of mental and physical exercises and monitored throughout. Being starved made them lose weight but it also had profound psychological impacts on them.

The men experienced many bad symptoms as an effect of their calorie restriction. They had a 50% decrease in their BMR (calories your body uses to do its most basic functions). They were irritable, hysterical and depressed.

The most important discovery was what happened after the diet ended. The men were studied post experiment to see how their bodies reacted to unrestricted eating after starvation.

For the months following the experiment, the men ate excessively. Their appetites became insatiable. They couldn’t stop eating; they never felt satisfied, and a lot of the subjects ended up gaining more weight than they were pre-experiment. One of the subjects even ended up in hospital to get his stomach pumped after eating so much food!

We can apply this experiment to fad diets. We experience the same fears, thoughts, emotions and actions the men did. When we restrict our food intake, we experience symptoms such as anxiety, insatiability, hunger and desperation.

Once we allow ourselves to eat normally again, we end up overcompensating and ultimately putting on more weight than we began with.

Can you see how this is all making sense?

The ‘Naturally Thin’ Girl’s Secret

Is there someone in your life that appears ‘naturally thin’? They might always skip the starter, wouldn’t dream of having a sweet cupboard, and politely turn down the cake at a family gathering. What motivates these people? Why do they make it look so easy? What’s their secret? You might be mistaken thinking they have a diet mentality. In actual fact, they have a ‘slim mentality’.

To try and explain it, here are two types of eaters.

No.1 – The Intuitive Eater

This eater relies on their bodies to tell them when they should eat. They don’t eat for the sake of eating, but they know they can eat whatever they like if they wish. They place no restrictions on themselves, but more often than not they choose to eat food that makes them feel good. They are less likely to be overweight, and listen to their intuition and follow their hunger signals.

No.2 – The Chronic Dieter

This eater follows diets religiously. When one doesn’t work, they move onto another. They follow rules and guidelines, and might even consider themselves an expert. They know the calories and ingredients in everything. However, they are also more susceptible to binge eating and yo-yo dieting. They are more likely to be overweight or have weight fluctuations, and rely on willpower to control their diet.

The chronic dieter knows their stuff, and you’d automatically think they’d be more successful at maintaining a healthy weight. After all, how can we rely purely on our human instinct when the ice cream van is seductively singing to our taste buds?

You might be surprised to hear that it’s the intuitive eater that has the most success with their weight. The intuitive eater has freedom of choice, and as we’ve discovered, this has a massive impact on how we feel and our actions.

You might think that being in control with an approved food list in hand and a ‘bad food’ list in another is going to empower you to make healthy choices. Having to think about whether you can eat this or that food is tiring and uninspiring, not to mention downright boring.

If you give yourself permission to let go of any restrictions, and know that you’re free to eat whatever you like, you feel free. By having choice, you giving yourself the opportunity to ask yourself how you want to feel.

Do you really want that pizza that’s going to make you feel tired and sluggish, or do you want to feel energized and awake? In which case you might go for a different, healthier option instead.

When you’re dieting, you don’t have that option. You might be more inclined to choose the ‘approved foods’ if you have a plan in place, but not for very long. Sooner or later you’ll get sick of it and go back to the pizza, just because you can. You won’t ask yourself how it makes you feel, because the focus is on the food itself, not how it makes you feel.

One common obstacle people face when considering intuitive eating, is not being able to trust themselves to choose the right foods. You might assume that if you give yourself permission to eat whatever you like, you won’t be able to control yourself. This isn’t the case! One major way to overcome this fear is to eat for health instead of weight loss.

The less you focus on weight loss and the more you focus on health, the easier it will be to choose foods that make you feel good. Weight loss will most certainly be a nice side effect.

You will start to build confidence between your mind and your actions. The more healthy choices you make, the more you’ll be able to trust yourself. This will leave you feeling empowered and diets will never seem appealing again.

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How To Change From A Chronic Dieter To An Intuitive Eater!

  • Number one: Give up the diets!
  • Say hello to your intuition. Trust it, follow it and practice using it.
  • Learn from animals. They don’t follow diets, they listen to their intuition and they’re perfectly healthy!
  • Work with your appetite and give your body food when it asks for it.
  • Learn to eat mindfully. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full.
  • Eat regular meals without distractions and notice how your body feels when it’s full. This should be your blueprint for future eating.
  • Instead of taking away food from your diet, add to it with fresh fruit, vegetables and other whole foods.
  • Embrace your freedom. Know you can eat what you like but have given yourself the choice not to.
  • Instead of focussing on the number on the scales, focus on improving your health.
  • Set goals and start small. Aim to achieve one small change to your habits each day.
  • Visualise yourself making healthy choices and imagine how it will feel. This will give you the ability to access them feelings when you’re faced with a difficult food situation.

Bottom line is: diets are products created by companies looking for fat profits. They might work for the short term by creating a deficit in energy intake, but they’re doomed for failure on the outset. They simply don’t work with our natural psychological makeup. As humans we’re not meant to deprive ourselves of food; we’re meant to fuel ourselves with the correct types and amounts of food to ensure we’re at optimum health.

I know it might seem scary to give up the safety blankets of diets and rules, but learn to trust your intuition. The more you prove yourself right, the more inclined you’ll be to make the right choices. This will improve confidence in yourself, and ultimately give you absolute freedom of choice.

Soon enough, you’ll be the one that gets everyone wondering, “What’s her secret?”

References

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/6/1347.full

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