I always thought that maybe a wedding would be the incentive I needed to lose weight, so when I got engaged, I decided to start looking into it. But after I did a little research, it quickly became clear that the best diet was actually no diet at all because it turns out, dieting can make you gain weight. Yeah, diets have been around for hundreds of years and so you might think, well, it's time tested, hundreds of years, we gotta trust it. But you would be wrong, you'd be very wrong. So here's the science behind why dieting can make you gain weight. Body weight is regulated by the brain, and which is often resistant to extreme diet-based weight loss, so when you're on a diet, sure, initially you might lose weight, but likely you're gonna gain it back because your body's gonna make you.
The hormone leptin plays an important role in our eating habits. This hormone combats our attempts at weight loss by signaling hunger. Basically, you scared your body because you starved it, and so your body is like, okay, bitch, I'm gonna start storin' up fat, so if you do this to me again, I'm gonna have some fat storage to be able to deal with that starvation. This is the called the classic starvation response. The brain responds to a loss of fat by increasing your hunger levels, so now you're more hungry, and you may eat more food, so if you're dieting, you are far more vulnerable to binge eating. Dieting can be stressful in itself, and stress hormones are linked to weight gain, especially in the belly area. Just so you can understand how silly diets are, I think it's best to look back on the dieting fads of yesteryear. The creator of graham crackers introduced a high fiber diet in the 1830s. We all know what happened, obviously, camping became big, we started eating s'mores.
Graham crackers aren't that healthy when you put chocolate and marshmallow on them, but they are delicious. There was William Banting's low-carb diet from 1863. In 1903, it was popular for people to chew food 32 times in order to lose weight and digest food better, I guess? There's a lot more things you could do to lose those calories than just sittin' and chewin'. The cigarette diet debuted in 1925, and we all know how that went. Yeah, cigarettes, not so healthy. The grapefruit diet debuted in 1930, and it was popularized in Hollywood. The idea behind the grapefruit diet was that if you eat a grapefruit with every meal, you're gonna lose weight. I mean, I love grapefruits but does anyone love grapefruit that much? A grapefruit every meal, that's too much grapefruit.
In 1934, the United Fruit Company began pushing the banana and skim milk diet. So you see the pattern here, people are trying to sell you things, and they're trying to sell you it by telling you, you're gonna lose weight with it. This is a pattern that repeats throughout time. On the Sleeping Beauty diet, which debuted in 1976, people were sedated for days in order to lose weight. Like Sleeping Beauty had an excuse, there was a curse put on her, but you just cursed yourself.
Or maybe society cursed you into thinking you needed to lose weight by doing the Sleeping Beauty diet. The caveman diet came out in 1985 and that has morphed into what we know today as the Paleo diet, where you just eat a bunch of meat for some reason. The trendy diets of today are the Whole30, Paleo Diet, and the Keto Diet. Christine Clark, PhD, RDN, she cautions against diets that prohibit certain food groups, which, if you've ever tried a diet, is like, most of all diets.
Dieters who avoid specific food groups lose out in the nutrients that are in those food groups. The Keto Diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet, which could result in inadequate levels of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. The Whole30 is an extremely restrictive diet. You have to eliminate dairy, beans, grains, sugar, alcohol. The diet's restrictiveness can make it unsustainable. If you're dieting and you're following an unsustainable diet, you're gonna fall back to bad habits. Our society is obsessed with skinniness for no reason. Skinny's not always been the ideal body type. Until the 1900s, curvy women were the ideal beauty standard in the U.S. and Europe. There was singer/actress Lillian Russell, who would be considered heavyset by today's standards. She was the ideal beauty in the late 19th century. During the turn of the century, the Gibson Girls set another body standard for women.
The Gibson Girls were simultaneously curvy and fragile. They had thin waists, thanks to corsets, and large breasts, so that was also probably a crazy body type to try to emulate. In the 1940s and 50s, advertisers capitalized on the idea that women and who were skinny, were unattractive to men. These are real ads that were targeted at women to try to make them gain weight, which is just something that's completely unheard of today. There were these ads basically reinforced the idea that to find love, thin women have to gain weight.
After World War II and into the 1960s, we had Marilyn Monroe, who had a very full figure, and was considered the ideal beauty at the time. In the 1960s, that's when thinness started to come into vogue, first with Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn. Then in the 1990s, ultra-thin heroin chic was popularized by models like Kate Moss. Basically, beauty standards change all the time, and currently being a little skinny thing is very unrealistic for most people. You can be healthy when you're slightly overweight, according to society's standards. You know what, all these crazy fad diets. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep, watch your stress levels, and be happy in your body 'cuz your body's perfect the way it is, and honestly trying to change it, might just be worse in the long run.
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