As the pandemic wears on, we are constantly bombarded by messages on social media that encourage us to lose weight we may have gained during this stressful time. Many people turn to fad diets to shed pounds, often diets that are promoted by celebrities or other influencers. Most of these diets do not follow evidence-based nutritional science, and can have harmful effects for those people who attempt to use them. In the initial phase of these restrictive diets, people can lose weight. However, in the long term, 95% of people regain the weight that they lost, and this can perpetuate a damaging cycle of “yo-yo dieting “. People who go on fad diets are at higher risk of developing eating disorders, nutritional deficiencies, loss of muscle mass, and electrolyte imbalances. Also, chronic dieters experience significant psychological stress and anxiety related to their poor nutritional state.
When we diet, we are essentially at war with our bodies – a war we can't win without damaging our health.
Our bodies are genetically programmed to regain lost weight, an evolutionary process to protect us against starvation. The body’s metabolism slows down, enabling us to hang on to every calorie we consume. Hormones that regulate appetite are secreted, increasing hunger and making it more difficult to restrict our food intake. When we diet, we are essentially at war with our bodies – a war we can't win without damaging our health.
The diet industry is a multibillion dollar business that does not promote health and wellbeing. Besides enticing people to restrict their food intake in unhealthy ways, the diet industry also promotes damaging stereotypes about how people should look. The “ideal” body shape and size favoured by the diet industry is unattainable for the vast majority of the population, and perpetuates negative attitudes to those who do not conform to these unreasonable standards.
At Body Brave, we respect the diversity of body shapes and sizes and we encourage people to kick the diet habit. Diets fail people, not the other way around!