Dieting, a national phenomenon that wreaks havoc on American society. According to the National Eating disorder association (NEDA),”91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting”(statistics, 2021, July 14). More than nine out of 10 women on that campus have tried dieting. Some may ask, why might this be a problem? Dieting has become so normalized in our culture that very few see the impact it has. Not only is it a problem, it is also a scam. NEDA found that “95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years.” Most, if not all diets do not actually work and this is why.
weight set point
Each body has what is called a weight set point. This is the weight that your body decides that it is safest at. It is a range of around 10-15 pounds. Weight set point is determined based on one’s genetics, environment and hormones. When one tries to lose weight in a drastic way or they lose a lot of weight quickly the body goes into starvation mode. This is for survival purposes, back when famines were much more common, your body relied on staying in the same weight range. The body’s one goal is to return back to its set point. The Hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates weight. If one’s weight goes outside of the set point, the hypothalamus will adjust the body’s needs such as hunger or appetite to get back on track.
Dieting is just another form of disordered eating.
From a large study, NEDA reports that, “of 14 and 15-year-olds, dieting was the most important predictor of a developing eating disorder.” This is not only a problem for young girls, this is a national issue that affects “people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, weight and body size” (Eating Disorders Resource Center, 2021, March 24). With eating disorders being a risk, dieting already does not seem worth it. That combined with what we know about weight set points, proves that dieting does more harm than not.
So if dieting is not the answer, what is?
The answer is, intuitive eating. Intuitive eating or mindful eating is when you follow your body’s wants and needs by integrating “instinct, emotion, and rational thought” (Tribole, E. 2019, July 17). This means that when genuine hunger arises you eat. After partaking in intuitive eating for a while the body will start to master this. Just like anything, this requires lots of practice and the ability to listen to your body. Do not deprive yourself of the nourishment that your body deserves. Do not give into the scam of dieting now that you know about weight set point and your risk of engaging in disordered eating. Intuitive eating is your best bet at obtaining a healthy lifestyle, so listen to your vessel!
Eating Disorders Resource Center. (2021, March 24). About Eating Disorders. https://edrcsv.org/get-informed/about-eating-disorders/
Statistics & Research on Eating Disorders. National Eating Disorders Association. (2021, July 14). Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/statistics-research-eating-disorders.
Aamodt, S. (2013, June). Why dieting doesn’t usually work [Video]. TEDConferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/sandra_aamodt_why_dieting_doesn_t_usually_work/transcript?language=en
Tribole, E. (2019, July 17). Definition of. Intuitive Eating. https://www.intuitiveeating.org/definition-of-intuitive-eating/