Dieting is probably the worst thing you can do if you want to lose weight. I’m not talking about wanting to lose 5 lbs to get into your swimsuit. You’re not fat. I’m talking about folks who need to lose 20 or more pounds. You will eat carrot sticks and celery, eliminate as much carbohydrate and fat from your diet and as soon as you hit that goal weight and begin to eat as a normal person, trust me – you’ll put it all back on again, plus some.
Food is an addiction. When you eat something you like, your brain gets flooded with those good feeling dopamines. In fact even thinking about, say a chocolate bar, can get the dopamines flowing. The likelihood that you will then go and GET that chocolate bar are high. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh dear, today I cheated on my diet’. You didn’t cheat on your diet, your diet is cheating you.
I was never heavy until I started dieting. That is until my 90 lb mother started me dieting. At the age of 12, I was a normal weight (even on the smaller side) child. I was given smaller portions than everyone else, and I can remember watching my brother eat a piece of lemon meringue pie which I was not allowed. I have no idea why she thought I was going to get fat, but she did.
At 13 I went to boarding school (my mother was ill – at the time) and ate like a normal 13 year old. Lots of activity and believe it or not, lots of good food. I came home with baby fat. My mother was appalled. Out came the diets again, the grapefruit and poached egg (that's ALL you ate), the tuna fish and grapefruit (that’s ALL you ate) the liver and spinach one day, then only fluids the next. This went on for years. And oh, yes – I lost weight to the point of being downright skinny, but another diet had to be hauled out when I put the NORMAL weight back on, and began to gain some in the process. You all know this is called Yo-Yo dieting (no relation to Ma). Up, down, up – then some. I’ve been on Scarsdale, Weight Watchers, Aitkens… just about every diet you could name by the time I was 26. And by the time I was 26 – I was fat.
I never needed those diets – they just made me superconscious of my weight when I really didn’t need to be. Then when I needed to be, I lost hope. I knew the diets were the cause (I lost a gall bladder at 27 which the doctor said was a direct result of yo-yo dieting). So I stopped dieting. I was afraid of getting even bigger. It never occurred to me, (doh) that sensible eating and some exercise would have done the trick. So I got even fatter.
Oh ladies and gentleman a 265 lb woman is not healthy. It IS about vanity at a certain age. You are on the market so to speak (although for some reason I never had problems with that) at the ages of 20 + you want to fit into those great clothes that your friends are wearing. Instead you go to a plus size shop and simply get what fits you. It wears on the self image and it wears on the body.
But it is also about health. By the time I was in my late forties, I had high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, and diabetes. I knew something had to be done, but many of the medications I take slowed my metabolism. And I won’t say I love exercising. At that age, losing weight is an issue in itself. As I’ve spoken of before (please see an older post) I went for gastric banding and lost 75 lbs. I’m still chunky, but not really FAT. I have another 40 lbs to go before I will feel truly healthy.
Now this does not involve dieting. It involves ensuring that you eat the proper portions of food, make good food choices and walk your dog at least once a day. This can be done without the gastric band and it is NOT dieting. For younger people exercise is key – don’t put yourself on some dumb diet as I guarantee you will simply put it all back on and just get heavier.
There are those who are comfortable being large. To you I take my hat off. I even understand that some large people can be more ‘fit’ than some thin ones. (Think of those gi-normous football players). If self image, health is not an issue, then have at it.
But for those of you, young or old to whom it is a concern, particularly health wise, don’t diet. Just don’t. Weight Watchers is probably the best for those without surgical intervention as I had. It at least teaches you how to eat healthily and encourages exercise. Do not go out and get the Suzanne Sommers Diet book (what the hell does she know except how to exercise her thighs?), or the South Beach Diet. None of them work. None. You will just get fatter once those dopamines kick in full tilt when you go off.
I may not speak for everyone, but I know I speak for the majority. Dieting makes you fat.