Monday, August 15, 2016

Dangers of Chronic Dieting

There is no doubt that dieting is ingrained in our culture. We live in the age of instant everything and there’s a natural temptation to fall for a weight-loss plan that promises quick weight loss in only weeks rather than months. Chronic dieting involves dieting over a period of years with the goal of achieving or maintaining a certain (often unrealistic) weight or body type. The chronic dieter is always chasing a number on a scale with the thought that once they get there, they can finally relax and enjoy their life. Most people don’t understand the health consequences of chronic dieting that is always camouflaged as a path to great wellness and health.
 What are the Dangers of Chronic Dieting?

  • Chronic dieting erodes our health and well being by contributing to medical problems such as hypertension, a slowed metabolism and psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.
  • The problem with fad diets is that they will most likely last just as long as it took you to lose the weight. Instead of losing weight gradually over time and being able to maintain the weight loss, these short-lived diets will actually end up costing you more than you bargained for. Because of their quick-fix results, many people unfortunately get caught up in the cycle of dieting for a specific event, gaining the weight back, and then trying a new fad the next time.  To lose weight and keep it off, you must break the cycle of chronic dieting and focus on making healthy lifestyle choices. Losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your current weight can lead to health benefits.
  • Some weight loss diets restrict certain nutrients such as carbohydrates or complete food groups, such as dairy.  When you aren’t eating well-balanced meals, you are likely missing some essential nutrients that can lead to micronutrient deficiencies.

Chronic Dieting and Eating disorders
Chronic dieting is associated with eating disorders that commonly coexist with other conditions, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse and depression. Eating disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape.  There are a number of different eating disorders; all of them are life- altering and pose a risk, to say the least. The three most common types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
The Path to Recovery
The solution to sustainable weight loss is to start looking at health and weight from a lifestyle perspective. When I talk to clients about this, they feel scared, even terrified. They believe that if they give up dieting, they will lose control and gain a lot of weight. They don’t. Understanding the difference between a healthy lifestyle and chronic dieting is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. If you want to change your health, you have to choose to stop buying into this system of deprivation dieting and chronic stress, and find a different approach that supports your long term health and wellness.
Kepha Nyanumba Consultant (Nutritionist, AAR Healthcare Ltd). Email:, Follow me on twitter: knyanumba or

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