Weight Ticker

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Support Group - Dieting makes you fat

Hi All,

I've just been looking over my previous posts and realised I had never blogged about the HW support group which I attend once a month.

I've now been to two, the second of which was last Sunday the day before my fill!

The group is two hours consisting of a one hour informationn session to help with our weight loss and the second hour is a discussion group.

The first session covered planning and record keeping and referred to several studies which seemed to show that people who kept regular food diaries consistently lost more weight than those who didn't...I wondered if this could be influenced by the fact that the motivation it takes to keep a food diary is a reflection of the motivation those people put into their diet...when I am going off the rails, nothing would enduce me to write down all the bad stuff I'm eating! but when I am motivated I'll happily keep a food diary.  Not trying to bag out the food diary idea though as i do think it is a good one, and maybe it might help to keep our motivation up a little if we do know we have to write it down!

When people feel they are doing everything right and not losing weight the first thing I advise them to do is keep a food diary and tally up the calories to see if they can spot any problems.

The group discussion afterwards brought up a problem for one of the bandits who after several fills still felt NO restriction!!! Hard to believe! She told the group how she was tucking into Indian takeout with no problem and eating the lot! She'd recently put on half a stone and was feeling pretty fed up.  She had a hectic lifestyle and a busy job and found it impossible to eat healthily whilst she was at work.  I really felt that a lot of the things she was saying were classic excuses not to be responsible for her food choices!  If she'd wanted to she could have gotten round every excuse she was making.  She was an intelligent woman in a very good job, but appeared to want the band to do ALL the work for her!!  Where did she get this idea from?

I hope that talking it out with the group gave her a chance to get her internal dialogue working and make her start to make plans to overcome these issues.  She was saying she never had time for breakfast and wasn't organised enough to make a packed lunch and so was going all day with nothing to eat until 3pm when she would go to Burger King across from work or M&S and stock up on high fat food cause she was so hungry...why not recognise the problem and buy a bag of fruit too whilst you're there and some lower fat cereal bars or other healthy snacks or pre-packed salads and leave the bag in her car overnight and bring it in to work with her the next day - No organisation needed in the morning then and it was winter so even the salads would have kept in the car.  Then even if she hungrily ate the high cal food that day, she'd have been fortified to make better choices the following day, by having had something to eat before she went to the shops...M&S even sell porridge in little styrafoam cups which you just need to add water to.  So, as I said before, excuses, excuses!

This month we had a lecture on portion and package sizes and how studies show large packets and large plates and utensils result in us eating more...even of foods we don't like!  Studies also show that highly visible food will be consumed in greater quantities than food which is not visible...visibility even had more impact than accessibility.  So keep those fatty foods out of sight bandits!

This month instead of the regular group discussion Dr Ashton came in and we were encouraged to ask any questions about our surgery or weight loss.  I told Dr Ashton about my very slow weightloss of a lb a week on a less than 1000 cal a day diet and asked him if he felt this could be attributed to the much talked about 'starvation mode'.  He said that this 'myth' had come about following a very popular book 'Dieting Makes You Fat', written by Geoffrey Cannon and Hetty Einzig in 1983.
"Dieting," said Cannon and Einzig, "creates the conditions it is meant to cure." When you diet, something funny happens to your metabolism - it gets better. Better, that is, at making you fat. To see why this should be the case, you have to think like a Darwinian.
Genetically, we are, to all intents and purposes, exactly the same as our Stone Age ancestors, who were threatened, above all, by starvation.
To survive, and reproduce, they had to have a metabolic system that would enable them to deal with periods of scarcity. And we, of course, are the same. Except we don't have periods of scarcity - we have diets.

What happens when the body is given less food than it needs? In the short term, it lives off its own reserves of fat. It gets thinner. But another mechanism comes into play: it also gets better at getting fat. When you diet, your mind wants to lose weight, but your body does not. When you diet, your body thinks you are unable to find food. You think: diet. Your body thinks: famine.

In the Stone Age, your fat-packing genes made you better at both survival and reproduction. Now, in this time of great abundance, they make you worse at both - more prone to heart attacks, and less attractive to the opposite sex.

And crucially, the more diets you go on - the more famines your body is exposed to, in other words - the better you become at getting fat.
If you want to read the full Telegraph article by Willian Leith follow this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/3632055/Health-warning-all-diets-make-you-fat.html

Dr Ashton claimed that this book asserted that each time you diet your metabolism slows down and so you will put on weight more easily.  Dr Ashton counters this with the fact that although our metabolism will slow down slightly when we are on low calorie diets this effect is temporary and fairly small and that our metabolism will soon return to normal when normal eating resumes.

He also said tht the majority of people who are unable to lose weight on diets are eating more calories than they think they are.  He quoted the results of studies in which subjects were under controlled environments and were eating more calories than they were logging and doing less exercise than they were logging.

Whilst I do agree in theory that this does happen to all of us at times and I do believe that the metabolism does return to normal.  My personal experience seems to suggest that once your body gets used to regular periods of starvation, it becomes very efficient at engaging this lower metabolism more quickly than it did on the first diet you were ever on.  Just my non-scientific opinion.

An interesting point in the William Leith article linked above was that the reason for the over-eating in the first place was not treated by the weight loss diet and would often make it's presence felt in other ways once the fatty food was removed, in his case by an increase in his drinking! This is a very good point! Often times we are treating the symptom rather than the cause.  The emotional eating etc. may need to find another outlet. A good one for us all to contemplate.

I hope you've found this topic interesting. 

Sparkler xx

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