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Monday, December 31, 2012

Thinking of starting a diet? Think again!

Before you make that habitual New Year's Resolution to go on a diet, chew on this food-for-thought first:
Dieting is a good predictor of weight gain. Two-thirds of those who diet will regain more than they lose.
Chronic, repeated or 'yo-yo' dieting causes some serious, long-term damage. Here are a few of the risks you take when you decide to embark on yet another diet:
- Your body retains more fat when you go off the diet and resume eating.
- Each time you diet, the rate of weight loss slows.
- Your metabolism will decrease.
- Your cravings and tendencies to binge will increase (resulting in guilt).
- You increase your risk of heart disease and premature death.
- Your body shape changes as you regain weight, with increases in the abdominal area.
- You lose touch with your body's natural hunger and fullness signals.
- You are at increased risk of eating disorders.
- Your example most likely will negatively affect your family's relationship with food and body image. As the lyrics in the musical Into the Woods say: "Children will listen".

We all know that the word diet is simply die with a 't' on the end. That 't' stands for temporary. Diets as the word is used in our society are a temporary means to an end. So if you aren't going to sustain the regimen happily for the rest of your life, don't start it at all.

I can't emphasize enough the power of your example to younger people within your influence. Young girls especially pick up on those subtle, destructive cues that teach: body size, shape and self-worth are inextricably linked. Just say no to that right now with your personal example of a healthy, non-diet lifestyle. Truly, if you cringe at the thought of an 8 or 10 year-old girl imitating your "diet", that should be a huge red flag. This advice does not just apply to parents. If you have nieces, nephews, neighbors, students, etc., please think about the message you send every time you go on another diet.

So, before starting another "miracle" diet, ask yourself if you're up to ending the year with more guilt, more girth and less health than you started. If that doesn't sound so appealing, you might want to consider a healthful, life-long, non-diet approach. Contact a registered dietitian and break the addictive cycle of dieting permanently.

(Source: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D.; & Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A., C.E.D.R.D)

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