Proud2Bme | Should You Diet?

Should You Diet?

Q: One-third of all teen girls are on diets and more than 70% say they wish they could be thinner. We hear so much about how thin=healthy, thin=beautiful and thin=happy, but what's the REAL truth?

Is dieting a good idea or is it hazardous to your health?

A: "Dieting is so seductive. It gives us hope, the promise of weight loss and happiness. But it just doesn’t deliver on its promises," says Linda Bacon, Ph.D., a nutrition professor, eating disorders expert, and author of Health at Every Size.

"Any plan that has you giving over control to someone else’s idea of what you should eat is doomed to fail. Go against your body’s game plan and it resists – perhaps not short term, but always in the long term. It’s well established in the research literature that dieting is a great predictor of weight gain over time. And from a physiologic perspective we can understand why – the body resists attempts to manipulate and releases hormones, neurotransmitters and other messengers that help support weight regain."

Bacon points to two reasons why dieting is a bad idea: "It doesn’t work (and actually backfires); and it teaches you that you aren’t trustworthy. Besides, who wants to feel like they constantly have to fight their desires? Yet that’s exactly the message of diets: 'Do what we tell you, not what you want.' Instead, when you trust yourself, you find that you are far more effective at managing your weight than any diet can be. Your body can give you signals, not just when to eat, but also when to stop eating. The end result is that you feel good when you listen to these signals, rather than the discomfort that comes from trying to fight hunger or the 'stuffed' feeling from eating too much."



Image: Grant Cochrane /

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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