Have you been on a diet before? Almost all of us have at some point in our lives. Many times people will tell me they are a “professional dieter” or they have been on so many diets they can’t even count them. Or even that they have lost over 1,000 pounds! If this is you, please keep reading! Even if you have only been on 1 diet, or if you are considering starting one sometime soon, you should also keep reading! I realize I am going counter-cultural here as I suggest we say goodbye to diets, but let me convince you why this is is so important.
Scientific Reasons to Ditch the Diet
1. Diets Don’t Work
Emerging research in multiple reviews and analysis show us that overall, diets just don’t work. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about low-fat, low-carb, moderate everything, Atkins, DASH, Zone, or the thousands of other diets available. This research shows that 12 months the weight loss and modest health benefits (in this review blood pressure) disappear! The benefits disappear!!! Janet Tomiyama, a psychologist at UCLA who also worked on this research said, “one of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started.” This is incredible. Pause and think about this quote for just a moment.
2. They Do More Damage Physically
We are starting to see that diets may be more damaging than good. Dieters may also see an increase in stress hormones, like cortisol, which can lead to a whole host of physical illness. And the yo-yo diet effects on metabolism are detrimental making it harder and harder to lose weight with each diet.
3. Diets Corrupt Mental Health
We are only starting to look at the mental health effects that food restriction and dieting have on our mental health. We already know that dieting, and especially chronic patterns of dieting have huge negative effects on our emotions, mood, and overall satisfaction with life. The effects can even go as far as to causing disordered eating. We also know that the more we restrict, the more we crave the foods we are restricting. Talk about ironic.
If diets just don’t work, then why do we keep doing them? Isn’t doing something over and over and expecting the same result the definition of insanity. Yes. Yes it is.
Biblical Reasons to Ditch the Diet
- They create Idols. Idols are anything we regard as more important than God. This easily happens when we become hyper-focused on what and when we will eat and how we will exercise. Food rules can become more important than a meal at a friends house or dinner at community group. The Bible warns us against idolatry often (1 Cor 10:14, 1 John 5:21, Col 3:5) and we should be wise to listen to these warnings.
“Many times our idols begin as wonderful gifts like health or food, but then become the object of too many thoughts and much to much energy.” Week 4 Food and Faith Program.
- We can become puffed up. The Bible warns us over and over about pride (Prov 11:2, Prov 29:23). Often, when we find initial success in weight loss, we begin to feel pretty good about ourselves. This isn’t always a bad thing, but we must watch out for pride. We must make sure we don’t think we are better than others as we lose weight or make “better” food choices than someone else.
- Diets distract us from God. While dieting, we can lose our eternal perspective and become so consumed with the now that we forget our true purpose on this earth (Col 3:2). Ask, “Am I glorifying God with my thoughts, words, and actions?” “Am I spending more time exercising, meal planning, cooking, etc. than I am with God?”
So what should we do instead?
Great Question! I am so glad you asked. We know that using the Intuitive Eating Principles can be beneficial in many ways including with both our mental and physical health. If you want to take it a step further, add a little spiritual health into by including some Biblical Principles and together you get what I call Intentional Eating. This is what my Food and Faith Program is all about! In this program I teach you how to transform you mind to think differently about how you take care of your body according to God’s Word! Finding the right motivation can make all the difference in long-term success. Discovering how to grow in the fruits of the Spirit will help you continue on your journey for life! Focus on God and what he says is best for you and your body!