December 2011

Dare to Resolve to Ditch Dieting

Dare to Ditch Dieting

Aside from bikini season, late December and early January is the other time of year that we're especially susceptible to feeling bad about our bodies. Special thanks to the media and the diet industry for ensuring we do by reminding us that we overindulged during the end-of-year festivities and we must resolve to lose (at least) that holiday weight come the new year. Weight Watchers in the UK is making certain you hear that message loud and clear. On January 1, 2012 almost all the major UK television networks will simultaneously air a three-minute Weight Watchers commercial aka music video worth over US$23 million. In it, Weight Watchers proudly parades 180 clients, mostly women, who have lost a total of 5908 pounds using its trademarked ProPoints program launched just a year ago.

What I'd like to see is how many of those slimmed-down success stories will have kept the weight off by New Year's Day 2016. According to the studies, within four to five years most of them will have regained the weight, and at least 60 to 120 of them will weigh more than their pre-diet weight. Yes, I said diet. Regardless of what Weight Watchers (or SlimFast or Jenny Craig or any other system or product designed to lose weight) calls it, a diet is a diet. And diets don't work. Sure, if you eat only protein and avoid carbs or measure your portions or adhere to a system of points that limits your caloric intake, yes, you will lose weight… initially. But research[1] clearly shows that any weight lost is sure to creep back within five years.

Researchers at California's UCLA sought out specific evidence on the long-term results of dieting by analyzing every published diet study —31 in total— that monitored participants' weight from two to five years after their initial weight loss. The study's lead author, Traci Mann, summarized their results:

“You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back. We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people.”

You may have already heard this information but you may have very well just resigned yourself to playing the losing and gaining game. It's understandable considering how barraged we are with the message that fat will kill you. But the truth is ...

Read the full post at Adios Barbie.

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