Magazine

  • Chandana Banerjee

10 Reasons Diets Don’t Work

The New Year often starts with bright and shiny #weightloss resolutions. It seems like a good time to start a #newdiet, lose those extra pounds and fit into that sexy black dress.


What about you - do you resort to #dieting to lose those extra pounds every time? Have you found that going on a #diet helps you maintain your #weight in the long run or does the scale yo-yo between diets?

Why diets don't help with your health

What I’ve noticed is that dieting not only enforces the concept of deprivation and takes away the joy from the daily act of eating, it causes body image issues and doesn’t nourish the person.


What actually works is a healthy approach to food, lifestyle and body image. When you understand what you really need to stay nourished and respect your body for doing what it does, food and exercise become tools to staying fit. But in spite of research showing that 90% dieters gain most or more of their weight back, we do keep trying new diets again and again. Here are some reasons diets aren’t good for our bodies.


1. Cutting out nutrients: Most diets ask us to limit a nutrient or a bunch of them to reach our target weight. It could be fat, carbohydrates or vitamins. There are plenty of diets out there that prescribe letting go of fruits or load up only on proteins or cut out fat completely. Restricting one of these for a long time can increase our craving for them.


2. Restrictive: Diets zero down on what you cannot eat. From the number of calories you cannot exceed to a nutrient you cannot include to a type of food you can’t eat (rice or wheat or fruit), diets are often about restrictions. They ask us to keep an iron grip on our will power, which can backfire after some days.

One diet doesn't work for all

3. Biting off more than we can chew: Dietary principles ask us to make sudden adjustments to our food, mood and lifestyle – all of which can send our daily lives into a tizzy. Trying to make too many changes too soon is one of the major reasons for diets not working out.


4. “One diet works for all” myth: Each of us has different blood type, metabolic rate, biochemistry, constitution, stress tolerance and fitness level. From the Ayurveda point of view, we also have different doshas. So when different people start following the same diet, it impacts people’s health in various ways. From a change in stress levels to dosha imbalance, each person’s body reacts to diets differently, and not always in a positive way.


5. Too much focus on food: Our ancestors never put too much thought on food until it was about ways to procure that food or ways to prepare it. Diets get us to analyze every bite, urging us to be obsessive about every nutrient or meal that we tuck into.


6. Diets move us into survival mode: Trying out one diet after another can push our bodies into survival mode. When we cut off calories and nutrients, our bodies begin to think that we’re in famine state, which bumps up cortisol and we tune into fat storage mode. Being in this state for too long can tamper with our thyroid function.


7. Doesn’t cater to the seasons of our lives: Our nutrient requirements change with the seasons of our lives. A new mom with an erratic sleeping schedule needs a different kind of nutrient plan than a woman with a field job preparing for a half-marathon.


Every food group has a nourishing role to play

8. Impractical: You may be able to go off carbohydrates completely for a few days, maybe even a week or more. But in the long run, you’ll begin to crave for that particular nutrient and end up eating more of it. Adding excessive amounts of protein can also tweak our biochemistry and upset the fine balance of doshas.


9. An unhealthy relationship with food: While overeating isn’t a healthy habit, under-eating or focusing on restricting oneself of food types isn’t great too. Unfortunately, all the analyzing and restrictions that come with a diet can lead us to view food as a necessary evil.


10. Spotlight on weight than health: Weighing scales go hand-in-hand with diets. When you’re on a diet, you find yourself jumping gingerly onto your scales every day, praying for the pounds to slough off like the layers of an onion.

What has been your dieting experience been like? Let us know by posting your comments below.


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Warm regards,

Chandana


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