Hi, I’m Deacon Shoenberger, a licensed clinical psychologist. If you read last month’s newsletter you started paying attention to your regular routine and you’ve been to the doctor, cut down the booze, are well-rested, moderately exercised and ready to go…. So what’s next? Get after the diet you say?
Well, let’s take a look at the research on dieting. The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most respected publications in medical research, tells us that 92% of diets fail after 2 years and 95% fail after 5 years. This does not bode well for diets. (But any of us who have been on a diet know that one). How many times have you lost 30 pounds only to gain back 40?
There are a number of reasons for this failure rate, but the one we will take a look at today is called deprivation. There are two types of deprivation associated with eating, biological and psychological. Biological deprivation is the process inside your body that is associated with your innate drive to eat. This process kicks off pretty quickly after you start restricting yourself from food, or dieting. Within as little as three hours, your physiology changes and your blood sugar levels (glucose and glycogen) start shifting to a “pre-starvation” mode. Cortisol (the stress hormone) starts releasing, and your body starts to move into a protective mode. And over time, chronic dieting has been shown to teach the body to retain more fat when you start eating again, slow the rate of weight loss with each successive attempt to diet, slow down your metabolism, wipe out the satiety (fullness) cues, and increase binges and cravings. Not good…
Psychological side effects of chronic dieting include increased stress, anxiety, depression and lowered self-esteem, reduced trust in others and yourself, and a belief by some obese individuals that there is something fundamentally wrong with their character. Speaking of having been there, anyone who has a loved one who has been on a diet can speak to how crabby, irritable, and anxious they get the longer they are deprived of food. And not just over time – it happens so immediately my wife can speak to how crabby I get if I get busy during the day and don’t eat my usual meals….
Since deprivation is not the answer, what do we do? One critical deviation from traditional dieting that takes place here is that the doctors and coaches at iMetabolic aren’t looking to restrict calories, but instead are looking to restore healthy, regular eating and lifestyle routines. By providing healthy meal replacements, regular eating routines, education about food choices and eating pattern we are not looking to restrict food, but are seeking to allow your body and mind to heal the damage that has been done through years and years of restrictive dieting. This will allow you to stabilize physically and emotionally and put you on the path to long-term health. And if you happen to lose weight along the way (which we know you will) even better.