As we enter the last month of 2021 and venture into 2022, one thing is clear: New Year brings new diet trends. So, in light of the upcoming diets, I thought it would be important to highlight why they aren’t all that. In fact, despite contrary beliefs, extreme diets or fad diets are detrimental to one’s wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
Due to the rise in anti-diet rhetoric, most people are aware of the damage fad diets can cause. However, the majority of people who discuss this only mention the face value effects. This usually is in regard to regaining all the weight lost within 2-5 years, slower metabolic rate, or the development of binge eating. Unfortunately, these are some of the more manageable risks.
Around 95 percent of diets fail in the long-term. This means that most people don’t just diet once. The majority of people diet multiple times over the span of their life. And this term is coined as yo-yo dieting or weight cycling.
Sure, this “solution” may allow for people to continuously reach their goal weight or shape, but this “success” is almost always fleeting. These fleeting moments of happiness come at a cost, though. Weight cycling can create serious health complications.
Studies found that this phenomenon increases a women’s risk of coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death (SCL Health, 2018). Yo-yo dieting does not just impact heart health, but also increases the risk of hypertension, permanent metabolic damage, loss of muscle, and more (Harrison, 2017). But get this, I saved the best one for last, dieting is linked to higher mortality rates!
Maybe your mind isn’t blown, but mine is. Diet culture has the audacity to say that dieting aligns with wellness and health, yet it is quite literally deadly. And these facts don’t even account for the aspect of mental health in dieting. This can be hell, too, as diets can result in the development of eating disorders, body dysmorphia, anxiety, and more (Fuller & Heath, n.d.).
So, yeah, diets can help you lose those last ten pounds (momentarily), it just comes at one small cost: your mental, emotional, and physical health. Sarcasm aside, diets are not worth it. I do not think the desire for weight loss is inherently bad, nor do I think that the act of losing weight is. However, fad diets are. There is nothing wrong with wanting to prioritize your well-being this New Year, but maybe focusing on maintainable and enjoyable habits is a smarter approach.
Remember, your worth, beauty, and success is not tied to your weight. Your body is the least interesting thing about my friend.
Fuller, K., & Heath, K. (n.d.). Body image: What it is & how it affects mental health. Choosing Therapy. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://www.choosingtherapy.com/body-image/.
Harrison, C. (2017). What is weight cycling? Christy Harrison – Intuitive Eating Dietitian, Anti-Diet Author, & Certified Eating Disorders Specialist. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://christyharrison.com/what-is-weight-cycling.
SCL Health. (2018). Yo-Yo Dieting. Yo-Yo Dieting | SCL Health. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2017/01/yo-yo-dieting/.