DEPRIVATION DIETS & THE WEIGHT LOSS INDUSTRY
Atkins, Cambridge, Dukan, ketogenic, 5:2, South Beach, cabbage soup… the list of fad/crash diets (definition: “extreme rapid changed to food consumption”) only continue, many or all being a short term “solution” with a reputation of unsustainability.
Firstly, I must address something that genuinely annoys me (first world problems, right?). The term ‘diet’ seems to be totally misused! When people say, “I’m going on a diet” our minds instantly jump and assume that that individual is about to undertake a temporary and restrictive program, hoping to significantly decrease the number on the scale. However, according to the Oxford Dictionary, a diet is “the kind of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats.” So we’re all on a diet… our own diet – that being a healthy or unhealthy one.
Anyway…. now, diets. For short term ‘results’, yes. Diets are effective as realistically, your weight declines when you restrict your food consumption and out yourself in a caloric deficit. However, if you’re looking for long term results? Nope. Think again. On these crash diets you will, more than likely be putting that (water) weight back on instantaneously. These overly restrictive diets can take all pleasure out of eating. Your perception of food will alter – seeing it as a burden/something to avoid… thus leading me into my first point. Mental health.
Mental health & Relationships with food
I will admit, during my years of eating disorders, I was guilty of over-analysing every possible diet that would ultimately allow me to lose as much weight (of the minimal weight that I had at the time) as humanly possible. I convinced myself that these would be the answers – responsible for my happiness and confidence.
But hey, the ‘baby food’ diet will teach you nothing about healthy eating.
Furthermore, on a serious note, an outcome of rapid changes to food consumption may result in the binge-restict cycle. When your body is deprived of food, it releases its protective mechanisms.. the cravings and hunger kick in, causing a possible binge. This may seem a little far-stretched. But hey, you’re reading a blog post written my an ex-bulimic (in addition to a variety of other E.D’s) – it happens. Trust me – I know the “worst case scenario.” So some of these crash diets can be so intense, you’ve got to be mindful of the possible development of disordered eating patterns. (a.k.a avoiiiidddd)
Physical Harm & Side Effects
Fad diets can not only be harmful psychologically however, obviously! Your body, essentially, is machine. You, as the owner of your body, hold the vital responsibility to fuel it for simple, human, day-to-day functions.
A few possible side-effects of restriction/lack of essential nutrients:
- Reduction of metabolic rate
- Muscle loss
- Risk weakening your immune system
- Bad breath
- Risk putting your body in a state of ketosis
- Low energy
- Menstrual irregularities (I lost my period for almost 2 years)
Before I move on, let’s talk a little more about low carbohydrate plans. They have an initial diuretic affect. Sodium is lost until the body can balance itself out, thus the likelihood of temporary weight loss. KETO – for example. (“The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.”) This diet encourages the body to break don fatty acids to produce ketones – putting your body in a state of ketosis. A symptom that type 1 diabetics suffer! Your body is burning as many calories as possible just trying to maintain a stable metabolic rate, resulting in fluid shifts and dehydration.
People are intentionally doing this to themselves?!
The diet/weight loss industry
‘Skinny Coffee Club,’ ‘Flat Tummy Co,’ ‘BoomBod,’ ‘Herbal Life’…. and any other company with a pyramid scheme which @jamessmithpt hillariously slags off.
The diet cultures selling point is to undermine their consumers. Cause them to feel guilty about their current way of eating and cause the development of low self esteem – food MONEY. Like, since when was ‘skinny’ something that we should aspire to be?
Honestly, they’re basically convince vulnerable minds that they’d live a happier life if they changed their bodies – breeding insecurities & messing up our journeys of self-acceptance.
“This is why diet culture is never-ending madness. It’s pushing women into body shapes that are unsustainable, inducing shame and guilt when they can’t get or stay there, and making drawing them into another diet.”
Marketing takes advantage of this desire to lose weight, promising dramatic ‘results’ which are seemingly too good to be true. Their manipulative slogans encouraging malnutrition and deprivation of essential nutrients.
“The simple, quick and tasty way to lose weight”
“10 ways to lose weight fast”
“Lose weight and feel great”
Weight loss should never be “fast” and weight loss should never be the single occasion where you “feel great.”
The Realistic Alternative: Healthy lifestyle
If you are in a position where losing weight/becoming healthier is a suitable thing for you pursue, then here is my advise to you. Develop a healthy lifestyle. Something sustainable, realistic, genuine that will sequentially allow you to have long-term results.
Take it slow. Don’t do anything drastic. It’s about slowly incorporating healthy habits into your day to day life and growing from that.
I’m hoping to go more in depth about introducing these simple yet truly transformation habits in a future blog post… I’ve been talking to a variety of people in the hope to gather an array of cases so that I will be able to write something of actual benefit!
Don’t get side tracked by these big brands and their manipulative marketing schemes. But more importantly, you’ve got to learn to love yourself. No one should ever feel that weight loss is the antitheses of happiness. But in saying that, you must care for your body from the inside out – this meaning, if your weight is at an unhealthy one, maybe making these changed will be helpful.
“Beauty shouldn’t be about changing yourself to achieve an ideal or be more socially acceptable. Real beauty, the interesting, truly pleasing kind, is about honouring the beauty within you and without you. It’s about knowing that someone else’s definition of pretty has no hold over you.”
Keep smiling, Lara x