I’ve talked about it’s ineffectiveness before in my emails, on social media and it’s easily verifiable just by examining your own experience. If you want to see the scientific proof, check out this book. Or this one.
With that issue aside (for now), let’s talk about dieting’s dirty little secret: it’s wrecking you.
Dieting is not a harmless pursuit. Not only does it cause weight gain over time, but it is damaging physically and psychologically.
For years, I was able to diet, many times under the guise of “healthy” 60 day Lurong challenges at the gym, Whole30, Master Cleanses, Intermittent Fasting, IIFYM, and other detoxes/programs/jumpstarts, without perceivable harm.
I never called it dieting of course, but regardless of the name (“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet“-Willy the Shake), restricting calories or food groups that cause caloric deficit with the conscious aim to reduce body fat and/or weight IS DIETING.
I was only fooling myself. One, that I wasn’t dieting but being “healthy”, and two, that besides the ups and downs in my weight, I was fine.
UNTIL….my period disappeared. I developed anxiety, unreasonable worries about tsunamis and floods. Sometimes I skipped social events because I didn’t know if there would be anything I could eat; if the food would be “clean”. I was myopic in my quest to control food, nothing else mattered. If I ate something “bad”, I would do the WOD, plus a long run, or extra couple thousand meters on the Concept II rower. I could not sleep at night, my thoughts racing as I tossed and turned in my bed all night long.
But, damn I was skinny….it’s a shame I was too jacked up to actually enjoy the amazing life I though being a size 4 would bring.
For me, the disappearance of my monthly moon time, was the wake-up call that this insanity had to stop. I had been like clockwork for years and this was an obvious sign. But not everyone has such obvious signs, or we don’t know what to look for.
Too often we brush off what are clear signs of diet-induced damage as “aging”, or “normal for someone my age/with kids”, or we think our bodies are broken and look for a prescription to fix it.
Naturopathic philosophy and the nature of healing tells us that our bodies are never broken. Our bodies are a wise, ordered part of nature that knows exactly what they are doing. When signs and symptoms pop up, it’s because there is an underlying reason that needs to be addressed. The symptoms itself is not the problem.
Let us take a look at some signs and symptoms that your bodymind may be telling you enough is enough.
5 Signs You’ve Dieted Too Much
1.Cold hands and/or feet, dry skin, hair loss or thinning, constipation, diets that used to “work” don’t any longer. These are all signs of the compensatory slowing of your metabolism due to restriction of calories. If you don’t give your body enough fuel (calories from food) to perform all it’s normal cellular functions, it will slow down how fast these processes take in order to conserve energy. Your bodymind is smart. It wants to survive and if you’ve put it through a period of famine, it’s going to compensate for the lack of adequate calories.
2. You eat a whole pizza and a pint of ice cream Sunday night because your diet starts again Monday. In “Intuitive Eating” by Tribole and Resch, they call this normal psychological response “The Last Supper”. Let me repeat, this isn’t because you are weak or a failure. Dieting is the failure that sets you up for this sort of behavior. The impulse to consume foods that you know are off-limits (or are going to be), cause this forbidden fruit response. When you have been telling yourself that these foods are bad and you’ll never eat them again (or only on Friday nights or whatever limit you impose), you are naturally going to crave them.
3.You pound coffee, diet sodas, and energy drinks all day. I call these caffeinated crutches “false-energy makers”. If you’re tired and lethargic (due to lack of food), it’s easy to turn to these socially acceptable uppers. Because so many people in our culture habitually consume caffeinated beverages, it’s easy to assume it’s normal. It is NOT normal, or healthy, to need these crutches to prop you up all day. Fatigue and lack of energy can be caused by dieting itself, plus the damage inflicted by dieting to your thyroid and adrenal glands.
4.You’re good all day, then binge all night. As soon as the last bite of the binge is over, you have instant remorse and self-loathing. You feel physically ill. And you vow to all-mighty God that this will NOT. HAPPEN. AGAIN. You will start over tomorrow with a clean slate. And you’re good all day, then binge all night. And this hellish cycle continues.
5. You need a diet because without one you don’t know what to eat. For so long, we’ve been taught to NOT TRUST OUR BODIES. Cravings? WRONG! Drink water. Hungry? WRONG! Drink water. Not full? SUCK IT UP. You can eat again in 4 hours. Paralyzed by what the right thing to eat is? CONSULT YOUR LIST. The diet industry wants you to disavow any instinctual knowledge you have about yourself so that you will continue to buy their (ineffective) programs. If you don’t trust yourself, you need someone else to tell you what to do. This is a falsehood. Your body is wise and if we can re-train you to listen to your instinct and intuition, eating can become easy.
Have you done too much? Has dieting damaged your bodymind? Have you had enough?
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