Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Dieting Makes People Obese

There was an interesting article in the Huffington Post yesterday: How Dieting Makes People Obese. It discusses the powerful effect that dieting can have on your relationship with food. Check it out.

The article discusses women (and even young girls) who begin to diet to lose weight (even when it isn't medically necessary). The food restriction causes food to become a focal point; no longer able to eat freely the food restrictions cause them to crave forbidden treats. When the diet ends the new unhealthy relationship with food remains. Compulsive overeating leads to regaining the lost weight and more.

It's an interesting idea (although perhaps a bit overstated in this article), and something I'm actively trying to avoid. I hope that by focusing on adding new healthy habits, instead of focusing on restrictions, I can avoid this diet trap. I'm working on adding more colorful fruits and veggies to my diet (at least 5 a day in 3 colors), and making daily exercise a priority. I'm also cooking more at home, and trying new healthy recipes, in hopes that I will enjoy my home-cooked healthy meals more than the high-calorie processed foods I'm avoiding. Time will tell how this works for me.

This article didn't mention another important way that dieting can make people obese. During weight loss you inevitably lose some muscle and lean tissue along with the fat. When the weight is regained- the fat is regained (plus more), but the muscle is usually not. This causes the basal metabolic rate to drop (due to decreased muscle tissue), and the person now needs to eat fewer calories to maintain their weight. Do this a few times (as happens with yo-yo dieters), and you can see how easy it is to put on more weight that was lost. I think the key here is to avoid the muscle loss as much as possible. And, as I've mentioned before, I just started a weight training program to try to maintain my muscle mass while losing fat.

What are you doing to avoid these dieting traps? Have you though about how you will maintain your weight when you reach your weight goal?

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