Are you a Ping-Pong Dieter?
We all know about the ubiquitous yo-yo dieter. Like a yo-yo, his or her weight increases almost automatically, and decreases again through a lot of effort, over and over again throughout adult life. Do you know what precedes a yo-yo dieter though?
You guessed – it’s a ping-pong dieter. If you’re confused – read on.
Many of us fall into two categories when it comes to eating. It’s “All” or “Nothing”. You are either in major restriction mode – trying to get ready for bikini season or a big event or you’re in a “What the $%#@!” mode and eating whatever you please, when you please.
After more than 14 years of working with people with disordered eating and weight challenges, I see this pattern over an over again more than anything else. The problem with ping-pong dieting threefold:
1. Restriction will almost always eventually lead to binging. The very idea of restriction for some makes certain foods even more enticing. Will power is an expendable resource and a fickle friend!
2. Restriction puts your body into a stress response mode. Your body wants to protect you so when you finally give up the restriction – your leptin levels may drop (hunger inhibiting hormone) making you ravenous and your set-point (the weight your body naturally wants to gravitate towards) will go higher making your heroic efforts at weight loss more and more frustrating each time around.
3. Restriction leads to hunger – hunger is a signal that your blood sugar is dropping and you need fuel. When you ignore your internal body cues, you are bullying your body. Your body will not respond in kind! As I mentioned before, your body perceives restriction as a stress response, and thus increases the stress hormones in your body at a chronic low level. These stress hormones, like cortisol and insulin don’t recede entirely as they would in a real fight or flight response (i.e. a bear is chasing you), but stick around leading to a decrease in muscle tissue growth, increase of fat storage (to prepare for the famine) and inflammation in the body.
Bottom line. You may think you’re doing the right thing by severely restricting your calories. After all, you will lose weight fast! But in fact, you are setting in motion a lifetime of difficulty losing weight and increasing your chances of becoming a yo-yo dieter.
Stop playing ping-pong and find a beautiful dimmer switch in the middle ground. Stop the black and white thinking and enjoy 50 shades of grey. Start by trying a kind and gentle approach to weight loss. Try respecting your body into weight loss instead of bullying it there. Besides, there are way more games to play than ping-pong and yo-yos right? Scrabble, anyone?
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