Dieting rates have increased by three percent within a decade, while obesity rates rose from 34 to 42 percent. Among those who participate in diets, over 50% have chronic illnesses related to their participation, including diabetes and heart disease.
If you have fallen into the trap of the dieting cycle, you know all about the highs and lows associated with starting and stopping a diet. What if we told you there was a healthier alternative that could help you develop a better relationship with food?
Luckily, we have put together a complete guide on the science behind dieting and the diet cycle. We’ve also included what the research shows on health risks and how you can get started with a healthy non-diet option. Keep reading for more information!
The Science Behind Dieting
Before breaking down the dieting cycle and its risk, what exactly is a “diet,” and how did it become popularized? Diets have been around in America largely since it became a nation.
Research shows that people were promoting diets back in the 1850s. Most people’s main goal with a diet is losing weight.
Other factors contributing to dieting are increasing obesity rates and social media pressures. Diets entail eating or eliminating specific food groups.
Diets like intermittent fasting might include restrictive eating windows and times. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these other popular diets:
- Mediterranean diet
- DASH diet
- Flexitarian diet
The last three on this list were ranked as some of the worst fad diets in America. Why?
They don’t promote lifestyle changes, but rather, it is a quick fix. In the long run, these aren’t sustainable.
An argument could be made that the Mediterranean diet is less of a standard diet. It doesn’t heavily restrict calories or when you eat. Instead, it prioritizes healthier eating through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while minimizing red meat and processed foods.
The Dieting Cycle
What is the dieting cycle? It is a negative physical and mental health cycle that includes starting and stopping diets repeatedy. The dieting cycle has six primary stages:
- Staring a new diet
- Restricting calories, foods, or when you eat
- Deprivation or cravings
- Going off a diet or binging
- Feeling guilty
While the type of diet may change, the process remains relatively the same for most individuals.
Are Diets Successful?
Studies show that moderate weight loss was shown within the first six months of starting a diet, and high blood pressure risk factors dropped. After a year, blood pressure improvements diminished and weight stabilized or increased.
Within five years, 80% of weight lost was regained. Medical experts concluded that diets don’t work for long-term results because of slowed metabolisms, and they can make you feel deprived of food groups or calories.
Risks of the Dieting Cycle
Fad diets promote quick weight loss, drastic body image results, and rigid schedules. These are temporary, dangerous, and unsuccessful ways to lose excess weight or improve health. Some of the health risks with the dieting cycle are:
- Body image disorders
- Decreased confidence or self-esteem
- Higher risks for eating disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Muscle atrophy
- Increased cardiovascular health risks
- Brittle bones
The negative emotions of dieting, such as anxiety and depression, can carry on after the dieting phase, leading to increased mental health illness rates. One of the biggest risks with diets is poor nutrient levels.
Following treatment plans guided by medical professionals can help ensure your body is properly nourished. This is primarily done through intuitive eating (more on that below) and supportive nutraceutical supplements.
Nutraceutical supplements help your body improve its hormonal homeostasis and can promote whole-body wellness.
Chronic Dieting Risks
Many eating disorders also have close ties with anxiety, depression, and even fear. The risks of chronic dieting are often worse than short-term diets. Yo-yo dieting, which is when you start, stop, and start diets repeatedly, has shown an increased risk for developing type II diabetes.
Other health risks with chronic diets include:
- Impaired blood sugar levels
- Ventricular arrhythmias
- Slower metabolism
In some studies, muscle loss was nearly three times more likely than fat loss. The researchers found that slow diets, where you lose less than 1% body weight per week, had a more negligible effect on muscle atrophy.
How to Stop Dieting
You can start breaking the dieting cycle through intuitive eating. Using intuitive eating techniques, you can become aware of your body’s fullness or hunger.
Ultimately, you can start assessing how foods make you feel. Here’s how to use intuitive eating in your day:
- Reject diets
- Use hunger cues to rebuild trust
- Eat what you want without guilt to start
- Stop negative food thoughts
- Listen to satiety signals
- Start associating positive feelings with food
- Practice self-love
- Start exercising
- Make food choices that feel nourishing
What are the benefits of intuitive eating? You can have a healthier relationship with food, improve cholesterol levels, reduce stress, and boost metabolism. Studies also found that patients who followed intuitive eating patterns had fewer risks for disordered eating behaviors and better emotional functioning and body image self-esteem.
Finding Complete Treatment Plans
You can find complete treatment plans, including advice on nutrition, hormone balancing, and peptide therapy, through EVEXIAS. Hormonal imbalances such as a lack of testosterone and thyroid disorders can be the root cause of weight gain.
Even the most stringent diets may not change the number on the scale and increase your risk for other illnesses. Functional medicine helps balance hormones and offers nutraceutical supplements for optimal health and wellness.
Find a Provider Today
The dieting cycle uses restrictive diets that have minimal research on healthy weight loss and often put you at risk for chronic diseases. Bouncing back and forth on diets can also negatively affect your blood sugar levels and metabolism.
Instead, intuitive eating, hormonal balancing, and other therapies can help you improve your physical and mental health. How can you get started? Find a provider today at EVEXIAS to help you reach your optimal health goals.