A dieter who is just 10 pounds overweight will over time likely become fat. That’s because after every diet ends (thank goodness!), the dieter gains back the weight he lost and most times a little more. Long-term studies of dieters find that 85% of restrictive dieters weigh more 5 years later.
Eating food we don’t enjoy in too-small quantities induces binging as soon as the diet ends. Furthermore when we drastically cut back our calorie intake, our bodies go into preservation mode and slow our metabolisms, burning fewer calories.
Why restrictive dieting does not work was clearly illustrated in the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
In 1945, 36 men participated in a 1-year eating experiment. After a 3-month introduction their food was cut back to 1500 calories per day for 6 months. The study attempted to make them lose 25% of their body weight.
The men became obsessed with food. Some non-smokers became smokers. They became moody, depressed, and anti-social. They lost interest in sex, caring only about their next meal.
As their bodies compensated for lack of food, the men’s calorie expenditure fell. Their metabolisms dropped by almost 40% and 600 calories per day. Note to restrictive dieters: drastically reducing calorie intake caused the men to burn fewer calories. The men lost 30% of their muscle, their hearts shrank by 20% and their hair thinned.
In the final 2 months, the men were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. They gorged themselves, gaining 10% more than their original weight with a higher ratio of fat to muscle. After the experiment ended the men took 2 months to 2 years to revert back to their pre-starvation weights. They had to work hard to regain muscle.
The Minnesota Starvation Experiment proves that restrictive dieting does not produce long-term results.
Healthful habits, not restrictive dieting will make you the weight that makes you happy. Slow and steady wins the race.
YOU next year principle
This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!