Feed on

After reading Mann et al’s report on the effectiveness of obesity treatments, it’s hard to have a positive outlook on attempts to diet. Their research essentially showed that most people who go on diets end up gaining all the weight back eventually and sometimes they weigh more than they did before the diet.


While this study was specifically designed for the purpose of discussing the context of providing coverage for Medicare, I think it is worthwhile to bring this topic a bit closer to home and discuss whether we should consider dieting a waste of time at our age and as adults who are not senior citizens.


While I have never personally attempted to go on a diet, just about every adult I know has tried one at some point. While I have seen some people certainly gain the weight back, I also know plenty who are better off to this day. I think it’s worth considering whether you’re making ANY impact versus none at all and not see it as a black and white issue.


The article defines dieting as “a severe restriction of calorie intake” without going into much more detail about the topic. This to me is a severe flaw in the study and changes my entire interpretation of the results. Diets that force you to practically starve yourself or require you to eat specific meals or shakes that are produced by the diet company inevitably have to end, for I highly doubt you want to eat Jenny Craig meals for the rest of your life.


There are forms of dieting that can be seen more as lifestyle changes that one adapts permanently such as cutting out alcohol, sweets, sodas, fried foods, etc. If a person thinks of their changes as steps towards a healthy lifestyle rather than a sprint-like binge that they’re waiting to finish I think the results could be totally different.


Finally, I disagree with their all or nothing mentality. If a person loses some weight for some time I think that’s better than never attempting in the first place. It may not have a major impact in the long run but it certainly can’t hurt.

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