Dieting has poor long-term outcomes no matter what diet you choose. Dieting usually leads to overeating and more weight gain. You may have found that trying to achieve a target weight may have been successful in the short term, and as you revert to your normal habits and busy life that you place the weight back on, instead you could change your relationship with food. This could include boosting your willpower, changing your mindset and managing the emotions that lie beneath overeating and we would also recommend learning about nutrition and how this can improve your mood, as we all recognise that what we eat not only fuels our body, what we eat also creates chemicals that influence our brain and mood.
Culture and Families
Some cultures are socially built around food and its consumption with families fostering overeating, for emotional or cultural reasons. Parents can also teach bad habits, like forcing children to clear everything on their plate, eating quickly, or they provide food when everyone sits down to watch TV. Research indicates that eating in front of the TV may slow down our metabolism when people are in a mild trance state and energy from the diet is less likely to be converted to heat.
Stress and Lifestyle
Some people eat more in response to stress, loneliness or anger and it is now believed that stress leads to a heightened cortisol response, which in turn favours the deposition of central fat. The causes of obesity are however complex; counselling for emotional distress does little to make people thinner. Obviously, something else is going on.
Certain changes in life circumstances can trigger weight gain (or loss) often due to changes in eating opportunities, emotional eating or changes in activity levels. These may include leaving home and having one’s own money to spend for the first time, use of alcohol, retirement, job change or redundancy, being in a relationship or breaking up.
Our society is obesogenic which means increased availability of food and less opportunity for moving around. Growth of eating areas in shopping centres, drive through restaurant chains provide largely calorie and fat laden choices on family outings.
The disappearance of the traditional family meal and the family sitting around the dinner table to eat main meals has created a culture of convenience foods which is a consequence of our changing work and life practices. Availability of food and the loss of seasonality across our food groups has reduced and not increased fruit and vegetables to be part of meals resulting in more people consuming more energy dense foods. This move to convenance over decades has also resulted in snacking which promotes obesity in childhood.