What happens when you go on a diet?

Well, one of the outcomes of going on a diet is that the diet industry gets fat, while you will probably remain the same size.

For most people, dieting leads to increased attention to food and thinking about it all the time. This results in cravings and overeating. Dr Andrew Hill of the University of Leeds shows this in his research. He also showed that when you restrict access to a particular food, the cravings for that food increases. So if you are on the yo-yo of 'Diet, Deny and Deprive' and banning a favourite food from your diet, you will think about that food more and more. And then you will violate your diet rules, and pig out. Having done that, you then beat yourself up as a failure, decide you are past caring, finish off all the biscuits and get straight back to your old ways of eating. So any weight loss is regained.

An alternative is to be a bit more forgiving. Work out what your eating problem is. People who manage their mood by eating tend to overeat and stuff themselves. There are people who have to eat food if they see it, but if they don't see it (or smell it, or talk about it) then they are fine. There are people who have got into a habit of eating a chocolate bar at 3 in the afternoon. Most of us know what our bad eating habits are. Knowing what they are helps you to decide what action to take.

If you have low moods, then what might you do to make yourself feel better. If you are a See it, Eat it person, don't fill your cupboards with desirable snacks. If you tend to buy a cake on the way to work, change your route and avoid the cake shop.

Whatever you do, avoid 'Diet, Deny and Deprive'. It only makes you unhappy.

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