If people knew what dieting did to their bodies, I don’t think any of us would have ever started.
Did you know that every time you lose weight and gain it back, you end up with more body fat? (Gasp)
Here is how it works:
You decide to go on a crash diet and lose 15# in one month. More than likely the diet that you followed was severely calorie-restricted and lacked enough nutrients to maintain your lean body mass (muscle, organs, and bone). The weight that you lost was made up of fat, but also muscle and water. You reached your weight loss goal and you decide to go off of your diet and return to your old eating habits. Over the next few months, the weight creeps back on because when you lose weight, you slow down your body’s metabolism, which means it requires fewer calories to function. If you don’t keep your calorie restriction where it was, you will inevitably gain the weight back. The sad part of this story is that any regained weight is going to be in the form of fat, unless you are actively lifting weights and building muscle.
If you repeat this cycle a couple times per year, by the time you are middle-aged, you will have completely changed the composition of your body. Sometimes you can even return to the same weight after each diet failure, but the proportion of fat to muscle changes every time you lose and regain weight. With more body fat, you don’t look as toned, your clothes don’t fit the same, and you have just increased your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other preventable diseases.
What is the moral of the story, you ask? Stop dieting.
If you can just take your focus off of your weight and put it onto your overall health, you will save yourself a lot of time, money, and emotional stress. Learn to be content with the body that God has given you and treat it well. All you have to do is make small improvements in your eating and be intentional with your exercise, and your body will find its natural healthy weight.
How many of you would give anything to go back to what you weighed before you went on your first diet?
Originally published July 24, 2014