Thank you to my dietetic intern, Hannah Kutzin, from Fontbonne University who contributed the content for this blog! 

Here’s an eye-opening statement: the biggest predictor of weight GAIN is going on a diet.

Going on a diet? I can already hear you: “But, diets are supposed to help us lose weight, right?” Not so simply.

An evaluation of 25 research studies tracking the effects of restrictive eating on weight change concluded that the act of going on a diet resulted in weight gain (Lowe, Doshi, Katterman & Feig, 2013). By restricting calories so greatly for a period of time, there is a susceptibility for individuals to come off said diet. Because the energy restrictions are typically unsustainable, when individuals do come off of their diet plan, they tend to eat more than their body needs, resulting in an excess of calories consumed. When this “non-diet” pattern of eating resumes, weight gets added back on. Long-term solutions are lacking, and an exhausting cycle of dieting and non-dieting continues.

The Definition of Diet

So let’s talk simply here. What is a “diet”? Merriam Webster defines a diet as: noun, a) food and drink regularly provided or consumed; b) habitual nourishment; c) the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal special reason; d) a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.

How fascinating and different are these definitions? It is true that our diet is reflective of the foods and drinks that we take in on an everyday basis. And the last definition, like the research studies, define a diet as a restrictive form of eating with the intention to shed excess pounds. But it is time to think about food and eating patterns in a different way.

If we thought about dieting as “habitual nourishment”, the world would be a healthier (& happier) place.

Do you know which definition of diet is my favorite? “Habitual nourishment”. How wonderful is it that the food we eat fuels a million amazing things inside of our bodies! We have the ability several times a day to be nourished through our food choices, to create new habits, and to practice a new lifestyle which is first, sustainable, and most importantly, joyful! It is with a new mindset and new choices that people see and feel success.

There are several ways to lose weight and find peace at the table without going on a diet. Eating mindfully, planning out meals, changing daily habits, and practicing non-food activities, such as getting physical activity, restful sleep, and stress management can all aid in a successful weight-loss journey and an overall healthy appreciation of food. It is time to step away from a “diet” and instead focus on “habitual nourishment”.

The SUSTAIN WEIGHT LOSS Program is centered around these sustainable practices.  The next session starts THIS Tuesday, October 4th! Learn more about this program and how you can secure your own spot HERE!

Resource: Lowe, M. R., Doshi, S. D., Katterman, S. N., & Feig, E. H. (2013). Dieting and restrained eating as prospective predictors of weight gain. Frontiers in Psychology4, 577. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2…

Hannah Kutzin, Dietetic Intern
Fontbonne University
Master’s of Arts in Family Consumer Science with discipline in Multidisciplinary Health Communication.

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.