Is it time you broke up with your diet?

Dear diet,

I’ve been thinking and I’ve decided that our relationship is not what you would call a healthy one.

It started so innocently, you promised you could help me fit into my clothes better. I had only put on a few kilos and it seemed like a good idea to team up with you so I could just feel a little slimmer.

What started out as an equal relationship has quickly turned into one where you hold all the power. Soon enough I was following so many diet gurus on social media and attacking anyone who didn’t agree with my dieting philosophy.

You’re holding me back, diet. Now when I go our to dinner with friends, I’m anxious about the food I might eat and I’m so envious of my friends eating what they want when I’m stuck with the salad. Again.

I’m constantly tired because you push me to do so much exercise on so little food. I’m so jealous of my co-workers eating cake that I snap at them and always seem to be in a bad mood.

I think it’s time we had a serious talk, diet because I’m seriously considering breaking up with you. I will not let ‘rules’ on piece of paper written by an ‘expert’ dictate my life to me and rob me of precious energy that should be spent on the people and things I care about, not on whether what I’m eating wins your approval.

Sincerely,

Dieters the world over.

~

It seems like I can’t go anywhere without hearing someone talk about the diet that they are on. Whether it be the lady explaining the 5:2 diet to her friend over a coffee or seeing someone passionately defend the Paleo diet on Facebook, it’s every where.

It seems we are as obsessed as ever in finding The One. That diet that will work for us, the one diet that is better than all the others (or at least not as bad as other ones). We enthusiastically start a new diet with the hope and promise that this is the last one we will need to start because this is the diet that we will be able to effortless stick to forever, the one that will finally allow us to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Here’s the naked truth: fad diets do not work.

They do not help us lose weight in the long term, and they do not make us healthier.

95% of people who lose weight, will gain it back.

1/3 to 2/3 dieters will end up heavier than before they dieted.

In addition to this, dieting can have many unintended consequences such as:

  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Food and body preoccupation
  • Weight cycling
  • Reduced self esteem
  • Increased risk of developing eating disorders
  • Weight stigmatization and discrimination

Going on a fad diet is also a predictor of future weight gain.

Following a celebrity’s diet will not make you more like them. Following a popular diet does not make you an expert in nutrition.

 Fad diet: tells you what, when or how much to eat.

It doesn’t matter what you tell yourself or others, no fad diet is “better” or “not as bad” as another. Choice does a yearly round up of diets and ranks them from “best” to “worst” (FYI Paleo lovers, the Paleo diet consistently ranks in the bottom 3).

People are understandably confused. I get told all the time that people just don’t know what to believe anymore as the evidence just seems to change all the time.

The truth is that the media loves a good controversial headline. At the end of the day, they are a business that needs to remain financially viable, and controversy sells.

The actual evidence has not changed very much in a long time. This is reflected in the latest version of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. In writing these guidelines, over 55,000 studies were reviewed. This is in contrast to media headlines claiming, “fat is back” or “fat is your friend” based on one or two studies.

I’ve written before on how silly dieting rules are. I can almost guarantee that you know how to eat in a way that is right for you, and that you don’t need a ‘diet’ to tell you what foods are healthy.

So, is it time that you broke up with your diet?

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