Dieting is something our culture is obsessed with. For some reason, a lot of people think that restricting our food intake to control how our body looks is normal. I’ll repeat that.
A lot of people think restricting our food intake to control how our body looks is normal.
There’s a lot of science behind why diets don’t work, and it’s frankly pretty interesting that we tend to ignore these facts as a society in pursuit of the *perfect body* (whatever that means).
What a lot of people don’t realize is that restricting your food intake actually makes your metabolism slow down. Your body, being the amazing and loving thing that it is, slows it’s metabolism to LITERALLY KEEP YOU ALIVE. (Honestly, no one wants you to live more than your body!)
When your metabolism slows down, weight loss is harder and fat is more likely to be stored on your body because your body recognizes that it is in starvation mode. It actually realizes that it’s basically in a famine and does *whatever it can* to save you.
You’ve probably also heard the statistic that 95% of people who diet gain the weight back (and then some), and it’s 100% true. What ends up happening is that we end up bingeing after restricting because our bodies are DESPERATELY CRAVING NUTRIENTS, so we eat what seems to be a lot of food. In reality, your body is eating this much because it’s a physical response to stay alive.
Ask anyone who diets/is dieting/has dieted. They normally restrict throughout the day, eating smaller portions for breakfast and lunch, and then by dinner time or after dinner, they end up eating bigger portions of food (and going “over their calorie limit” which is so annoying I don’t even want to talk about it).
I had someone ask me recently about cravings and what to make of them. My response was simple: they are super super important and we need to listen to them. Just like when we eat a lot after restricting, cravings are our body’s way of telling us that WE NEED SUSTENANCE. It’s that simple. You know how when you need water you get thirsty? And you know how when you need food, you get hungry (or you SHOULD get hungry, at least, I recognize that hunger cues can be out of whack in recovery)?
Yep, cravings operate the same way. When you crave a food, it’s because your body needs it. Ever realize that your cravings are one hundred million times more intense when you’re restricting? It’s literally due to the fact that you’re denying your body of enough food so it starts craving certain things that it needs to get you to eat.
Listening to your body in recovery can be extremely hard. Although some of the science backs this stuff up 100%, I totally understand that that doesn’t make it easy. Trusting your body to eat when it needs to, sleep when it needs to, weigh WHAT IT NEEDS to…it’s hard and scary and new. I get it.
Controlling our food intake and obsessing over what we eat, what we weigh, how we look when we walk by a reflective surface…it’s exhausting. It’s a tiresome distraction from the real shit that is going on in our lives that we are actually struggling with.
Diet culture can seem inescapable, but what I try to remember when I hear people make triggering comments or spew diet bullshit from their mouths is that they’re probably not happy with a few other places in their lives, and for them, focusing on their body is a lot easier. Hey, I’ve definitely been there, it’s no fun.
Bottom line is that diets don’t work. The whole point of living and having a body is nourishing it and listening to the innate cues that our bodies give us. They exist for a reason. Our bodies will always be working, 24/7, to ensure that we are healthy and capable of living a kick ass life.
Your body loves you. Love it back.