So let’s come back to the present moment. You go on a diet. Your body senses it is not getting enough food and it panics. It thinks I’m not getting enough food. It’s time to start protecting myself by going into starvation mode.
In starvation mode. Your body activates a series of chemical and hormonal changes that are designed to stop you from losing so much weight that you eventually disappear.
Here are some of the changes that happen. Your metabolism slows down. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns energy. By slowing down your metabolism, you use less energy less quickly and can store more of the energy which you consume as fat.
Your hormones change when your body senses that it isn’t getting enough food. It responds by increasing the level of our hunger hormone ghrelin which circulates around the body. This makes you feel hungrier than usual.
This makes total sense when we think about our evolution. This response is designed to get you up out of your seat and motivated to go out and find food. Something really interesting also happens to our senses.
Our senses of smell and taste become heightened and food becomes more rewarding. There’s some research that has shown that food actually smells and tastes better when we’re on a diet.
Importantly, these changes don’t just affect us physically. They affect us psychologically, too. When our body senses it isn’t getting the energy and nutrition it needs, it starts generating lots of thoughts about food.
We start experiencing strong cravings again, all designed to get us up and out of our feet, searching for the food, we need to survive. It’s common when we’re on a diet to respond to these thoughts by trying to distract ourselves, ignore them, or push them away. But unfortunately, our minds just don’t work like this. And this can actually have the opposite effect.
For more information about how we can respond to our thoughts in ways that will be more helpful to us, have a look at our article on responding to thoughts. Each of these changes comes together and makes it incredibly difficult for a human being living in a society with abundant food, the availability to stay on a self-inflicted diet over any prolonged period of time. And just like with any other basic biological human need, think about needing the toilet or holding your breath.
No amount of willpower is strong enough to override primitive biological drives. And eventually, we eat.
Because of the restriction our bodies experience. This eating, which we now know as our body’s natural response, can happen in ways that lead people to feel addicted to or out of control around food. Few.
Okay, so that was quite a lot of science. Don’t worry. Our video on the diet cycle takes another look at how we can get caught up in yo-yo cycles and the impact this can have on our health.
From a more psychological perspective.
Take a look back and look at the bigger picture here in the long term and remain by this over several months or years.
We also want to acknowledge that for many of us, trying to lose weight through dieting can have big impacts on other areas of life. Is there anything that there’s been difficult for you about dieting? Has it had, for example, an impact on your relationships or your social life? Maybe it has impacted on your mood in some way or your confidence the way you feel about yourself. Has it impacted on your physical health at all?
How much time, money, energy and resources have you had to put into this? Are there things that you would like to do with your life that you’re putting on hold until that diet.
finally works and you look way or feel a certain way? We have absolutely been there to spend a fortune on new diet. Books missed out on social events because we were at the gym, became hungry with our partners in the weeks leading up to big events, felt tired, drained of energy and frustrated because we were so busy focusing on losing weight that we had lost sight of what really matters and what is important to us.
We feel very fortunate that we have since been on a journey of discovery. Yes, we know that sounds a bit cheesy, but in this case it is true. We have rediscovered and connected with what health and wellness really means to us.
And this may sound ironic, but to do this we had to stop focusing solely on weight. This initially felt odd, as we, like you, live in a world where we are constantly told that losing weight is the best way to improve our health.
But being the evidence based practitioners we are, we are a bit more curious about this. We have read the books, the research papers, and started to unpack the science so you don’t have to. And it’s fair to say we have learned a lot.
We now understand that there is much, much more to health than all white. If you would like to know more about this. We are passionate about sharing this knowledge with you so that you can discover how you want to take care of your health and live the life that you want to live. Interested in learning more.
Our Blogs offer a range of online blogs providing information and advice to empower people living in curvy bodies, to find sustainable evidence based ways to take care of their health and wellness without focusing on weight loss.
Whether that’s helping people to better understand their relationship with food, find ways of exercising that feel good for their body, learning skills to cope with stress, addressing body image concerns or tackling problematic sleep.
As we are a new website, we will continue to add to our range of blogs over time. So please do follow us on social media or sign up to receive email notifications when new content is added.
Some of the upcoming blogs we already have planned are emotional eating, responding to cravings, body image and intuitive movement.
Whilst weight loss is never the focus or intention of the website, we do acknowledge that for some people, weight loss can be beneficial for certain health conditions, as we don’t yet know of any safe and sustainable ways to help people lose weight. We want to focus on what we do know we can do, which is helping people take steps towards taking care of their health.
Regardless of whether this has an impact on their weight. If you feel you would benefit from a specific weight loss support, please contact your health care provider to discuss this.