The reason you see terms like health at every size and anti-diet is because of how
harmful dieting is for your body and your mind. People are under the misconception that the smaller your body, the healthier it is, and the larger your body, the unhealthier it is.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Dieting can actually be much more harmful to your body and your overall health than if
you stayed at the weight you were before you started these yo-yo diet patterns. Here
are some different ways being on diets can be harmful to your health.
You Might End Up Gaining More Weight
Believe it or not, having a history of dieting can actually cause you to gain weight,
instead of losing it. Sure, you might lose a few pounds in the short-term, but most diets
fail and many people end up putting the weight back on. A lot of those people gain even
more weight than when they started, due to the refeeding period after restricting. Your
body is going to hold on to all that food in fear of another famine period, and this can
lead to many issues with overeating and not understanding when your body is full.
Nutrient Deficiencies Are Very Common
People who are on diets will often have nutritional deficiencies, even though they feel
like their meals are balanced. The less you eat, the less nutrients you are consuming. If
you are in a severe caloric deficit or eating as few carbs as possible, you are probably
missing out on vitamins and minerals from meat and fish, vegetables, fruits, whole
grains, dairy, and so many more different types of foods.
Macro and Calorie Counting Lead to Unhealthy Choices
Think about a time when you were dieting, whether you were counting macros or trying
to stay in a caloric deficit. Did you always choose the healthiest, most nutritious foods
possible? Probably not. You told yourself you could eat whatever you wanted, as long
as it fit within your calories. Which means you might choose a cookie or processed
snack over a smoothie or oatmeal, just because the calories happened to be the same
or less. You start forgetting about nutrition, and only focus on a number.
The Stress is Damaging to Your Body and Mental Health
You are putting your body and brain through a lot of undue stress when you go on a
diet. There are so many different emotions you go through on this rollercoaster of
restricting your food, having guilt or shame over indulging in something that was off
limits, and over-exercising to burn as many calories as possible. If you find that every
time you start a diet, you have a short high, followed by a period of depression or
anxiety, guess what? That is not your lack of willpower ñ that is your HUNGER.
Unhealthy Habits Replace Healthy Food
Lastly, you might notice that when you are on a diet, you start engaging in unhealthy
habits not related to food. For example, you pick up smoking since it helps to stave off
cravings, or you start drinking calorie-free energy drinks or Diet sodas instead of
snacks, because it temporarily makes you feel full. Think of how much healthier it would
have been just to have a snack?