Some people love to diet and often go on and off different diets, including fad diets, in order to lose weight and get healthier. While this can work in the short term, it’s actually not the best way to lose weight. In fact, studies have shown that dieting makes you fat, so you might want to consider these five reasons why dieting makes you fat before heading out to the nearest bakery or supermarket in search of food that’s off-limits on your latest diet plan.
1) Dieting makes you fat by slowing down your metabolism
Whether you call it a slow metabolism or not, dieting can make it harder to lose weight. It’s true that a smaller body burns fewer calories than a larger one. But keep in mind that when you starve yourself or otherwise significantly cut back on your food intake, your body is going to slow down its basal metabolic rate (BMR) in order to conserve energy. Since 1 pound of fat represents approximately 3,500 calories, cutting 500 calories per day—which could be as simple as skipping a snack—will help you lose about 1 pound per week. The more extreme your caloric restriction becomes, however, and the longer you go without eating adequate amounts of food to maintain your BMR, all bets are off!
2) Disordered eating leads to binge eating
People who are at risk for binge eating disorders tend to have disordered eating, which causes their bodies to go into starvation mode. This basically means that when you restrict your food intake, your body starts storing extra calories in fat cells as a safety measure. If you decide to finally break your diet after binging on all those extra calories, they’re released very quickly—meaning that if you eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight and metabolism, you may gain weight even if you eat healthy foods. To lose weight safely but quickly and avoid disordered eating habits altogether, focus on filling yourself up with nutrient-rich food and not empty-calorie junk foods—such as sugar-free yogurt or juice, for example.
3) Dieting makes you fat by leading to yo-yo dieting
Dieting to lose weight can make you fat in several ways. First, it makes you eat fewer calories than you’re used to. When that happens, your body responds by slowing down your metabolism—to conserve energy. But when you start eating normally again, your
metabolism doesn’t go back up right away. You may end up gaining even more weight than before you started dieting because your body has slowed down how many calories it burns every day. (This is sometimes called metabolic damage.) Dieters also tend to get caught in a cycle of yo-yo dieting where they lose weight and gain it back over and over again.
4) Dieting leads to food restriction
Food restriction has been shown to lead to overeating, which is a recipe for weight gain. When people are dieting, they eat fewer calories than their body needs and as a result, burn fewer calories than normal. They don’t lose weight because of too little calorie consumption, but rather due to too few burned calories – which causes fat storage. Dieting leads to metabolic slowdown: Calorie restriction makes your metabolism slow down so you’re less efficient at burning fat and maintaining muscle mass. Furthermore, without enough food intake, your body goes into starvation mode where it tries to preserve as much energy (i.e., fat) as possible for future use when food becomes available again.
5) You get skinny fat
If you decide to go on a diet, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose weight at first. But as soon as you start eating normally again, all that lost fat will creep back—and maybe even come back with an extra cookie or two (or three). This is called getting skinny fat. And it can happen to anyone. Don’t be fooled by how great you look after your diet; if you don’t do something about it, your body will quickly regain any weight it lost before you know it. The only way to stay thin is to always keep exercising and making smart food choices—that means not just when someone tells you that it’s time for your diet again!