The pursuit of weight loss is a seductive fantasy

Hope? Photo credit: Julie Dillon
Hope? Photo credit: Julie Dillon

I know I am almost out of time. We have days until January 1st and the start of our National Dieting Holiday. If you’ve pondered the Food Peace Challenge idea, I appreciate it will be tough to stay with over the next few weeks. Giving up on the pursuit of weight loss is a hard sell especially now as the world gets amped up with the idea of losing weight.

Stay with me.

The weight loss quest gives us hope. As we make our rigid food lists of eat this not that our mind may feel clearer. Safer. The start of a diet engages our minds in a seductive fantasy of a new day involving happiness, acceptance, and peace.

Fantasy.

This is reality.

  • We all are not meant to be with a body mass index (BMI) of 20 to 25. I will discuss this more in future posts. In the mean time, know your body prefers you to weigh a certain amount. It may or may not fit within that narrow BMI weight range. Fighting your genetics and set point sets you up to eat for weight loss NOT health. How is avoiding fruit or legumes (via popular diet recommendations) healthy? It isn’t yet the diet writers know it changes the number on the scale…temporarily.
  • So, what if your weight is higher than your body prefers? I would guess if this is true for you, you’ve focused on losing weight most on your life. Reviewing research, we find those who focus on weight loss dieting weigh more. Can you believe it? Dieting predicts weight gain. Evelyn Tribole RD has a great video on this. Check it out here.
  • There is no research to date that shows any diet keeps weight off for more than one year. Not one. Every scholarly journal publishing articles on a diet stops at one year or earlier. Those looking further out have incredibly high drop out rates (the eating or exercise plans are too tough to to stick with) or correlational. And my college stats class taught me correlation does not equal causation. You too? We should expect more out of modern medicine and research.
  • Taking a year away from diets will help your body stop weight cycling. The yo-yo effect negatively impacts insulin levels, inflammation, and blood pressure. Focusing on weight loss to pick food choices hurts our health over time instead of improving it. Even if your weight is higher than your body prefers (which it may not be!), ending the yo-yo dieting and weight cycling will be the best investment in your health.

    Genius comic. Anyone know who originally made this? Would love to acknowledge the brilliance.
    This comic is genius. Anyone know who originally made it? Would love to acknowledge the brilliance and properly site.
  • Lastly, stepping away from weight loss pursuits will give you the opportunity to feel less craving to binge. Remember that hopeful clear feeling a diet brings? This is how a vicious cycle begins not ends. Do you feel chaos around food when not dieting? Don’t blame yourself or the food, blame the dieting. Within my clinical work with bingeing behavior, my clients stop bingeing only after they stop dieting.

Come January, our eyeballs will be saturated with Before and After pictures. They will be amazing. Some unbelievable. Before you let yourself get seduced, remember it is just a fantasy. Remember to ask, what happens after after?

It is almost New Year’s Eve. Are you ready to make 2015 the year you ditch dieting for good?

Ready to take the #FoodPeaceChallenge? Tell us on Twitter, share this post on Facebook, or give us a virtual high five in comments. You’ve got this!