Are you a professional dieter?

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Competitive dieting is a dangerous phenomenon which can lead to an obsession with food and weight obsession, as well as disordered eating behaviours. Television shows such as ‘The Biggest Loser’ have seen a marked trend in competitive dieting programs across many workplaces and gyms, whereby people are encouraged to participate individually or as teams to lose the most amount of weight in a specified time period, often for a prize or some form of reward.

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below an incredible short article on dieting.  Dieting is a risk factor in the development of an Eating Disorder. I used to be a semi-professional dieter. I remember from my late teen years being on one diet or the other. Then I remember entering the competitive dieting phase with my own myself, which was very dangerous and spelled my doom.  In recovery from Eating Disorder, you have to let go off all dieting rules and this is must. We hope you will find this article helpful and informative.

 

According to Eating DIsorders Victoria- Physical effects of dieting

The strict, restrictive and often unsustainable nature of many diets can leave dieters feeling constantly hungry and deprived. Dieters often ignore this hunger for a short time but such deprivation can eventually lead to powerful food cravings and over-compensatory behaviour such as bingeing. This can in turn lead to feelings of shame and failure, which contribute to negative emotional associations with food and eating.

Fluctuating weight is common for people who diet frequently (‘yo-yo’ dieting), as most people regain all the weight they have lost after a diet within a few years.

Diets disconnect people from their natural bodily responses through imposed food related rules and restrictions which may overlook hunger, physical activity and a person’s individual nutritional requirements.

Dieting can:

  • slow the body’s metabolism (the rate it burns calories)
  • cause food cravings and an increased appetite, leading to over-eating
  • reduce the total amount of muscle tissue and bone density
  • cause constipation and/or diarrhea
  • lower the body’s temperature in order to use less energy
  • cause headaches
  • cause insomnia and fatigue
  • reduce the ability to feel hungry and full, making it easier to confuse hunger with emotional needs

Psychological effects of dieting

Dieting can lead to feelings of guilt over ‘lack of self control’, low self esteem, a poor body image and obsessive thoughts and behaviours surrounding food. In addition, people who diet frequently are more likely to experience depression.

 

Competitive dieting

Competitive dieting is a dangerous phenomenon which can lead to an obsession with food and weight obsession, as well as disordered eating behaviours. Television shows such as ‘The Biggest Loser’ have seen a marked trend in competitive dieting programs across many workplaces and gyms, whereby people are encouraged to participate individually or as teams to lose the most amount of weight in a specified time period, often for a prize or some form of reward.

Another example of competitive dieting can occur amongst secondary school students. In these instances, somebody may start a diet with friends and become obsessed with losing the most weight, leading to unhealthy and dangerous behaviours regarding food intake and/or physical activity levels. Competitive dieting may also occur in the context of physical activity, e.g. in sports. This can be equally as dangerous for the development of disordered eating or eating disorders, particularly amongst men.

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Are you a professional dieter?

 

Have you heard the term ‘professional dieter’?

I used to be one.

I counted my calories and used my workouts and fasting to try and negate the things I ate.
I thought I had to earn my food, or pay penance for my food choices.

I wasted so much time with excessive workouts, pouring over nutrition labels, and tracking every bite, only to binge again because I was starving.

It was a tedious and unhappy way to live.

If you eat something, do you think about finding a way to ‘burn it off’?

Do you try to calculate how long it will be before you’re ‘allowed’ to eat again?

Do you think about whether or not you ‘earned’ something to eat either through restriction or exercise?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to make a change.

All of those ways of thinking and behaving are directly linked to the diet mentality, and to eating disorder mentality. They are also ineffective ways of maintaining a healthy weight.

(Both my books go into great detail about this. Read below to see how to you can get a free copy of my book.)

Our bodies are very complex, efficient machines.

They use energy all day and night, even when we’re sleeping.

You can’t decide how much fuel your body needs anymore than you can tell your car how much fuel it’s allowed to burn.

The only true way to know when and how much to eat is to listen to your body, which is called intuitive eating.

Don’t settle for less than the ability to eat intuitively. Maybe you’re harboring old ED thoughts and didn’t realize it, or maybe you’re just developing these patterns of restrictive eating.

No matter how long you’ve struggled with your relationship with food, know that help is available.

We at Heal-Ed are here if you need us.

 

Love and light,

Ali

 

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About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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