5 Ways That Dieting Makes You Fatter

Want to lose weight by dieting? Don’t do it! Dieting might make you fatter!

Dieting isn’t a lasting solution for reducing body weight. It’s far more likely to produce the opposite results.  You may already have experience with dieting and you know for yourself that it makes you fatter.

Here is why: (Cue the Jaws theme!)

1) Dieting restricts food to a critical degree that becomes unsustainable.

Eating like this starts out feeling righteous! After a while it makes you angry, irritable and irrationally hungry!

Eating like this starts out feeling righteous! After a while it makes you angry, irritable and irrationally hungry!

Reducing how much you’re eating to lose weight is necessary, but dieting is eating too little to satisfy hunger. And often it’s abstaining from eating certain foods or even complete food groups.

Reducing  or cutting out carbs doesn't sound so bad if you love meat and cheese, But there are carbs in fruit, vegetables, breads, pasta, pizza, and practically everything except meat! Pretty soon you care about eating what you're missing more than being overjoyed with what dieting is forcing you to eat!

Reducing or cutting out carbs doesn’t sound so bad if you love meat and cheese, But there are carbs in fruit, vegetables, breads, pasta, pizza, and practically everything except meat! Pretty soon you care about eating what you’re missing more than being overjoyed with what dieting is forcing you to eat!

If you consider desserts a food group it’s not unhealthy to cut it out of your diet, but if you love desserts and deny yourself the pleasure of a dessert once in a while you’re setting yourself up for a binge.

2) Dieting doesn’t address underlying issues that drive overeating.

Maintaining tight control to avoid using food as a coping skill is challenging to say the least.

Your computer crashed! Your entire presentation went with it! You've been working on it for two weeks and you're delivering it to your supervisors tomorrow! This is when you would run out to the vending machine to get a king-sized chocolate bar! But you're dieting. You can't have a candybar. Eating was a poor coping skill but at least it was something. Now you have no way to deal!

Your computer crashed! Your entire presentation went with it! You’ve been working on it for two weeks and you’re delivering it to your supervisors tomorrow! This is when you would run out to the vending machine to get a king-sized chocolate bar! But you’re dieting. You can’t have a candybar. Eating was a poor coping skill but at least it was something. Now you have no way to deal!

If you don’t eat in response to emotions but you don’t find a soothing activity to replace turning to food, you haven’t found an effective solution for coping. You’re building up pressure that will eventually reach the point that you can’t keep it under control and when it goes – IT GOES BIG!

3) Dieting requires strong motivation to lose weight to allow you to continue with the rigid eating approach.

You reached the point where you can't take being fat anymore. You are extremely motivated to lose weight!

You reached the point where you can’t take being fat anymore. You are extremely motivated to lose weight!

The motivation to remove all pleasure from eating comes from the pain of being overweight. When dieting begins to work, in other words when you lose some weight, you lose your motivation. With some weight gone you’re no longer in the same state of pain that caused you to start dieting. Now you have a new source of pain. Dieting is painful!

4) Dieting is not compatible with your life.

Your co-workers are headed out for lunch and before you started dieting you went right along with them. Now you have to decline their invitation!

Your co-workers are headed out for lunch and before you started dieting you went right along with them. Now you have to decline their invitation!

You have to give up your life for your dieting. Your life won’t allow you to ignore it, indeed, it’s your life and try as you might it’s going to impose itself on you. Dieting can only be temporary because your life is not!

5) When you combine Dieting 1-4 together you have created perfect circumstances for getting fatter than when you began dieting. It’s like dropping the AlkaSeltzer tablet into the water. It’s going to start fizzing like mad and there’s no way to stop it once it gets started!

(The hungry shark is about to attack!)

Adverse effect #1) You have effectively (temporarily) lowered your metabolism.

The calorie deficit was too great so your body burned both stored fat and raided its lean muscle mass for energy. Now that you have lost fat and muscle and weigh less you need fewer calories to stay alive. Losing muscle means your body burns fewer calories at rest. That means that when you return to old eating habits there will be more excess calories than before because your body is using fewer. More excess calories gets stored as body fat!

Adverse effect #2) You have built up a stronger-than-usual need to indulge yourself by rigid dieting.

Everything that was bothering you and causing stress is still present. You added another stressor by trying to avoid food as a means of coping without discovering an alternative coping solution that works at relieving the effects of what stresses you. Additionally you haven’t given yourself the pleasure of eating what you love. That is stressful in and of itself. Your stressors grow out of proportion as your need to get back to eating favorite foods becomes more urgent. In other words, you’re looking for a reason to be so stressed that nobody (including yourself) can blame you for devouring a meat-lovers pizza and 3 beers all by yourself!

Adverse effect #3) Your motivation is waning!

Dieting has relieved some of your pain brought on by being overweight. You started dieting to escape the pain (physical or mental or both) of being fat. Now you’re not so fat anymore. You reached the point where the pain of your fat body has dulled somewhat, so motivation to keep dieting is getting weaker.

The dieting is also painful but at first it’s not noticeable because you’re paying more attention to the pleasure of losing weight. Just as you reached the tipping point when being fat hurt more than the pleasure you got from food, now you reach an opposite tipping point. The dieting pain gets stronger because you’re getting no pleasure or even satisfaction from your food. At the same time your body isn’t so fat anymore so now the bigger pain to escape comes from dieting!

The new motivation (or pain that must be escaped) is to get away from painful dieting (while the irrational part of your mind tells you that you won’t gain back lost weight.)

Adverse effect #4) Your life, that you put on hold, is impatient! It wants you back and in a big way!

While you were dieting you missed out on a lot of fun. Now you’re dieting phase is over and you’re back to all the things you did that got you fat in the first place. You might even subconsciously be doing everything you did before a little bit more than you were doing them before.

Your presentation is gone and all the cake in the world isn't going to bring it back, but hey! It's worth a try!

Your presentation is gone and all the pastries in the world isn’t going to bring it back, but hey! It’s worth a try!

Eating more than you ever ate before and craving foods you never even particularly cared about before might be a symptom of dieting!

Eating more than you ever ate before and craving foods you never even particularly cared about before might be a symptom of dieting!

You could be “going big” today or tonight because “tomorrow I’ll start dieting again!” Tomorrow never comes, but it sure helps justify everything you’re doing today!

Stop dieting to lose weight! Focus on sustainable, healthier habits that are a good fit with your life!

Stop dieting to lose weight! Focus on sustainable, healthier habits that are a good fit with your life!

If it’s time to do something about your weight, do something that will last.

Stop dieting! You can make your weight-related goals fit your life and improve your its overall quality.

Good food, fun physical activities, and stress management that leaves you refreshed and gives you power to handle what comes your way!

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.