Holiday season is in. Time to celebrate and go all out on our favorite dishes. Sure, we might gain some weights- a few pounds around the waistline, arms and legs- but that isn’t a problem; we will follow a crash diet as soon as the holidays are over and easily get back to shape, simple right? WRONG!
This infamous technique of crash dieting to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time – which unfortunately is adopted by many people nowadays- is way too detrimental to your health than you have realized.
This phenomenon of gaining weight, losing weight through crash diet & gaining weight again, is known as Yo-Yo dieting. This is where your body weight bounces back and forth like a yo-yo. This is also called “weight cycling”.
Now, this idea of crash dieting to cut down weight might seem effective but it does you more harm than benefit- in fact the apparent benefits too are merely superficial and has no existential or lasting impact.
HOW CRASH DIETING IS A BLUEPRINT TO WEIGHT GAIN
People usually adhere to crash dieting to cut down weight, whereas this actually lead to weight gain instead. This is because your fat cells make a hormone called “Leptin”- which does the job of informing your body of stored fat thus gives you the feeling of being full. When you start losing weight due to dieting, the body stops making leptin, therefore you don’t feel full anymore. So when you stop dieting, you have an increased appetite. You feel hungrier yet your body burns lesser calorie which leads to gaining weight more than what you lost in the first place.
Another key factor that contribute to your weight gain is your mind’s “reward mode”. Let me elaborate, you see when you do crash dieting, you have prevented yourself from enjoying all your favorite meals, your cravings, etc. You literally tortured yourself throughout the dieting period and your mind was on the verge of rebelling- which you forcefully controlled. Therefore, the moment you end your diet, your brain goes into reward mode. It commands you to reward itself for all this struggle in the previous days, and therefore you end up binge eating or being susceptible to overeating.
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT A PUNCHING BAG
Following a diet usually means depriving yourself from eating everything you love, moreover, gaining back the hard lost weight back again and repeating this cycle takes a toll on your mental health and emotional well being. Let’s admit it, dieting is never easy, you don’t appreciate the process of struggling to resist your craving for unhealthy food, thus every episode of weight gains and weight loss puts a lot of pressure on your mind. This leads to the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
MESSING WITH YOUR BODY?
When you see your weight in the weighing machine, all you are seeing is a numeric value but what you are missing out is the internal effect of those extra pounds seen in the machine. Your body gets really messed up as you gain weight- starting from increased inflammation, heart disease, resistance to insulin, and imbalance in your gene regulation as well.
A study showed that the more your weight goes up and down, the more you have risk of developing issues like angina, heart attack, and stroke. The higher the bouncing back and forth, the higher chances of being susceptible. Repeat the weight gain-loss cycle, also contribute to chances of developing a gallstone. Furthermore, Yo-yo dieting disrupts the fine balance of gut bacteria. Your gut bacterial play key role in body metabolism to immunity to allover nutrition. However, throwing of the quantity and variety of the bacteria, lead to gastrointestinal conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
Fix your mindset, fix your life. The concept of dieting as a whole is very misunderstood. People almost always mix it up with instance cut down on eating and following a meal plan which is leads to short-term result. This entire mindset is flawed and as discussed above is almost always ineffective in the long-run.
So what is the solution? What we need to do is to make a change in mindset, to understand that being healthy and living healthy has no shortcut. One has to make healthy living and healthy eating a part and parcel of his/her life. Therefore, ditch the idea of a quick fix and think about making changes in life that will truly work and not give you a facade of short-term success.
The first step of leading a healthy life is setting realistic goals. Don’t get over excited and set target of losing 10 kg in a week, rather, start small- in fact as small as possible so that you wouldn’t even see feel the change. This technique of setting small goals that seem rather easy to achieve without much hassle is known as progressive extremism. I have addressed this concept in another blog that deals with breaking Bad Habits. Feel free to check it out if you please.
Now step two which is equally if not even more important that the first one, which deals with getting your support team. We all know change is difficult and it is extremely hard to stay equally motivated on your 10th day as you were on day one. This is where your support team will come into play. A friend, a driven family member of even a personal coach plays the most crucial role when it comes to pushing you back up when you feel like your motivation is taking a lag. They will remind you of your WHY, inspire you to push your limit and support you along the way like a constant companion.
But don’t forget, it always starts with you. It starts with you taking a decision to value your mind and body and not resort to short term gains that lead to your long-term harm. It starts with you believing that you can and will be able to make changes in your lifestyle to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. BE STRONG AND TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP.