[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
What does “dieting” mean?
According to the Larousse dictionary, in the context of food, the word “diet” can correspond to 2 definitions:
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
- Set of prescriptions concerning food and intended to maintain or restore health: e.g. vegetarian diet, gluten-free diet, etc.
- Eating behavior characterized by restrictions: Follow a diet.
For the general population, the word “diet” mainly refers to the second definition.
Restriction then means:
- Limit your energy intake to move towards a hypocaloric diet (low in calories) therefore lower than your needs in order to force the body to draw on its reserves.
- Limit or even prohibit the consumption of certain foods considered to promote weight gain such as fats and sugary products.
- What impacts?
The risk of yoyo effect
If I provide less energy than my body needs, it will first draw on its reserves. However, after a while, in order to maintain his vital reserves and not put him in too much danger, he will reduce his energy expenditure and in particular his resting energy expenditure, this is what we call a drop in energy. basic metabolism. Weight loss will then stop.
As the weight loss stops, I control myself more and I risk reducing my basic metabolism even further.
After a while I lose control, I stop my diet and I return to eating as before, even I eat more than before because I recover from the frustrations caused by the diet. However, if I return to my old caloric intake on a basic metabolism which has decreased, I regain all the weight lost or even more because my body may tend to create new reserves in order to prepare it for the next period of restriction and diet.
So, with each diet, I risk losing less and less weight and gaining more weight each time.
The risk of nutrient deficiency
Who says energy deficiency, also says nutrient deficiency.
For example, if I limit fat, I risk deficiencies in omega 3, essential fats for my brain, or in vitamins A, E, K and D which are vitamins only soluble in fat.
The risk of developing cognitive restriction and the appearance of taboo foods
Cognitive restriction is the intention to control one’s caloric intake by imposing a set of dietary obligations and prohibitions with the aim of losing weight or not gaining weight. This then involves implementing mental control which will distract us from our physiological regulation and our needs, whether for our body or to please us. This risks making us classify foods as “good” or “bad” or “that make you gain weight or lose weight”.
We then reason mentally and no longer according to the needs of the body or the heart and risk generating restrictions and frustrations.
The risk of developing eating disorders
Eating disorders very often begin with a phase of voluntary and controlled restriction, that is to say a diet! However, what is voluntary at the start will then be controlled by the disorder and the illness takes over.
In some people, restriction can lead to a need for extreme control to the point of anorexia nervosa.
In others, it can lead to a significant risk of developing binge eating or bulimia attacks. In fact, the body is in such a calorie deficit that it will then seek to compensate for this lack with significant food intake. As restrictive behaviors reappear after the attacks, the vicious circle of restriction – binge eating begins.
So how to lose weight without dieting?
Eating behaviors and weight are regulated by the principle of homeostasis, that is to say regulatory processes by which the body maintains its various constants to maintain a state of balance.
By meeting my energy needs
When we are in a calorie deficit, when our blood sugar decreases or when our fat mass level decreases below our balance threshold, our body sends us hunger signals in order to provide it with energy and the necessary nutrients.
When we have provided the energy necessary for our body’s needs, our body sends us signals to stop our food intake: this is satiation. It involves in particular the reduction in taste pleasure.
So, by eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full, this means that I have provided the necessary energy to my body.
By meeting my physiological needs
In order for our body to function well, we must provide it with different nutrients, whether in the form of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, but also in the form of vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.
To do this, it is necessary to have a varied diet containing all food families such as, for example, foods rich in protein, starchy foods, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, etc.
By meeting my emotional needs
The food we ingest gives off smells, delivers flavors… and we will opt to take this or that food depending on the pleasure it will give us. Thus, food intake plays a role in our well-being and our emotional balance.
When we feel a painful emotion (sadness, anger, frustration, etc.), emotional eating cravings can allow us to return to emotional balance by reducing emotional discomfort by eating a food that gives us pleasure.
Respect my healthy weight
When my body is in balance between my different needs, I can reach my balance weight.
Please note: this weight is not necessarily our ideal weight or the one we want to weigh, it will be the one that will allow our body to function well.