Thursday, June 29, 2006

See? Diets Don't Work! (Or, Why You Binge at Night)

As an AOL subscriber, it seems that every day, my welcome screen beckons with seductive weight-loss tips or diet plans. Yesterday’s headline was: “Plan to Boost Your Bottom Line,” and, for the record, this had absolutely nothing to do with finance.

Another encouraged us to, “Blast Away Your Female Fat Zones.” On other occasions, we’ve been invited to learn about “The Ultra-Metabolism Diet,” as well as to “Find Your Ideal Diet Plan.” (Note of curiosity to self: If we each have an ideal diet plan, then what’s with this ultra-metabolism diet?)

However, not long ago, I came across something a little bit different. At first glance, I was quite the skeptic. After all, the title of the piece was, “Tight Genes in Your DNA?” and the subject was Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the book, UltraMetabolism. In the article, Hyman discusses the starvation myth, the “idea that if we eat less and exercise more we will lose weight, and unfortunately, when we do that, when we starve ourselves or restrict our calories, we trigger a primitive survival response that drives us to compensate by overeating. We all have the experience, for example, of starving yourself all day, skipping breakfast, light lunch or maybe not at all, and then you get home and what happens? You clean out the refrigerator.

Hyman goes on to say: “And then you feel sick. Of course, we've done that over and over again. Now the first time you might do it you might think, 'Oh well, I shouldn't do this again because it's going to make me feel sick.' But how many times have all of us done that? Why? That's how our bodies are programmed. So if you eat less than your basic needs, if you starve yourself, you'll always backfire, you'll gain the weight back, and you'll probably gain back even a little bit more. People gain an average of five pounds for every diet they go on.

Wise man, I say (this review coming from a clinical psychologist, which, today, AOL revealed is the 22nd best job to have).


Feisty Frida said...

Hi there, I'm really enjoying your blog. Thank you for posting. I can't wait for your book to come out someday!


PalmTreeChick said...

I love those little AOL diet tips, however all of the ones I've read are just common sense.

I spent all of last week not eating (due to the stomach bug) and now my appetite is back...and it stucks. So I guess really starving doesn't work, although I wasn't hungry at all, but now it's like my body just "needs" food. I do NOT like that at all. I think I'd rather have the stomach bug again, the part when my head wasn't in the toilet. That probably sounds a little messed up, but I wasn't disappointed to be sick and wouldn't mind it again.

Jinniyah said...

Very true. My life is ruled by this:
Option A- Not eat all day, come home, binge, purge.
Option B- Fast for 4-7 days, eat again, binge binge binge binge purge, binge binge binge... you get my drift.
Option C-I won't go into.

Reminds me of when kids get too drunk for the first time. They get sick and swear off alcohol, yet most likely the following weekend they will be at it again. Why? Why do we never learn?

Oh, I added you on my links because I feel a sane perspective needs to be given to my blog. I hope you don't mind. If you do, I shall take it down :)

Haley-O said...

And...I'm finding, running around after Joey all day leaves me little time to really sit and enjoy my meals. So, I eat when I can. At night, when she (aka the-baby-who-doesn't-nap)finally sleeps, I love to just nosh--because I can, and because I can relax while I eat, which is such a pleasure! I have to learn to make time to relax and eat during the day...if at all that I don't do it so much at night....

drstaceyny said...

FF--thanks for reading!

PTC--of course, your body needs food. It also needs sleep and oxygen and water and frequent elimination, most of which you probably feel neutral about.

Jinniyah--the difference it seems (unless we're talking abt budding alcoholics) is that the drinking kids are choosing to get drunk, while it seems like you (although you have 3 options) feel like you don't have much of a choice. I don't mind being one of your links--it's sad to me how many "bulimia blogs" there are, and I only hope that this medium can provide some type of support and relief.

Haley--exactly right. For you, eating = relaxation, so it will be important to try to incorporate some relaxation periods into your day (I do remember reading on your site that while she doesn't nap, she is able to play independently--what a perfect time for you to take a few deep breaths, flip thru a magazine, do a few yoga poses).

PalmTreeChick said...

I LOVE SLEEP, doc! I'm a big fan of oxygen and water too. Elimination is good, but sometimes annoying if you're on a long trip and like to drink lots of water, like I do. ;)

Haley-O said...

Thanks, Doc! :) I'll try to take some of that advice. It's just hard to relax at all when she's awake! I'm always looking at her with at least one eye ;)--last time I wasn't looking, she managed to get into the cat cookies....