The scientific evidence is clear as can be that cutting calories simply doesn't lead to long-term weight loss or health gains.The researchers have been studying why diets fail for a long time. They have seen that diet failure is the norm.
Nicky is not a dieter. She eats sensibly much of the time, with some junk food here and there, but it doesn't really seem to affect her weight. She is Naturally Thin Nicky.Many heavy people wouldn't be lean like Nicky even if they ate the same foods in the same quantities. Their bodies are able to run on fewer calories than Nicky's, which sounds like a good thing (and would be great if you found yourself in a famine).
However, it actually means that after eating the same foods and using that energy to run the systems of their body, they have more calories left over to store as fat than Nicky does. So to actually lose weight, they have to eat less food than Nicky. And then, once they've been dieting a while, their metabolism changes so that they need to eat even less than that to keep losing weight.
Dieting causes neurological changesthat make you more likely to notice food than before dieting, and once you notice it, these changes make it hard to stop thinking about it. Nicky might forget those chocolates are there, but dieters won't.
Why so many people regain weight after dieting? In fact, dieters like them even more than before.
This is because other diet-induced neurological changes make food not only taste better, but also cause food to give a bigger rush of the reward hormone dopamine. That's the same hormone that is released when addicts use their drug of choice. Nicky doesn't get that kind of rush from food.
And besides, Nicky is full from lunch. Here again, dieters face an uphill battle because dieting has also changed their hormones. Their levels of the so-called satiety hormone leptin go down, which means that now it takes even more food than before to make them feel full. They felt hungry on their diets all along, but now feel even hungrier than before. Even Nicky's regular non- diet lunch wouldn't make dieters full at this point.
People see Nicky and are impressed with her great self-control, or willpower. But should it really be considered self-control to avoid eating a food when you aren't hungry? Is it self-control when you avoid eating a food because you don't notice it, like it or receive a rush of reward from it?
Anyone could resist the food under those circumstances. And even though Nicky doesn't really need willpower in this situation, if she did need it, it would function quite well because she's not dieting. On
top of everything else, dieting disrupts cognition, especially executive function, which is the process that
helps with self-control. So dieters have less willpower right when they need more willpower. And non-dieters have plenty, even though they don't need any.
And of course, even if Nicky were to eat those tempting foods, her metabolism would burn up more of those calories than a dieter's metabolism.
If you are a dieter, remind yourself that you aren't weak, but that you were in an unfair fight that very few win. Change your focus to improving your health with exercise and healthy foods.