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Chronic Dieting Definition

author image Lori Newell
I hold a Master's degree in exercise physiology/health promotion. I am a certified fitness specialist through the American College of Spots Medicine and an IYT certified yoga teacher. I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences.
Chronic Dieting Definition
A frustrated woman is holding up her bathroom scale. Photo Credit: FotoCuisinette/iStock/Getty Images

Losing weight takes a commitment to making lifelong changes to your diet and exercise habits. Many people turn to fad diets and severely restrictive plans to try to lose weight fast, which can lead to chronic dieting. Weight may be repeatedly lost and then gained back, which can lead to giving up on weight-loss efforts. To break this cycle, it is important to understand what it takes to both lose weight safely and keep it off.

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The Chronic Dieter

Chronic dieting syndrome is diagnosed when someone severely restricts caloric intake on a regular basis to try to lose weight, has an obsession with body weight and size, goes on and off a diet program for two years or longer or constantly diets despite a loss of weight, explains a report in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Chronic dieting is not healthy and it can have long-term psychological and physical effects.

Effects on Body and Spirit

Another term used to describe chronic dieting is weight cycling. While much more research is needed to fully understand the effects of chronic dieting, the Weight Control Information Network suggests that it may contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallbladder disease and other problems. In addition, people who weight cycle tend to be heavier than those who do not chronically diet. Weight cycling can lead to feelings of failure, as the goal weight is never reached or maintained, and this can lead to giving up on trying to reach a healthy weight.

Barriers to Success

Successful long-term weight loss requires a sensible eating plan that can be followed for life and one that includes regular physical activity, the American Heart Association reports. Weight loss means burning more calories than you take in, no matter what type of food you eat, and you can do this by cutting back on calorie intake and exercising to burn calories. The first step is to develop a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. A successful long-term weight loss plan is one that allows for occasional treats and indulgences. If the plan is too restrictive, it will be difficult to follow in the long run. A restrictive diet can lead to feeling deprived, which in turn can lead to binge eating and regaining any weight that was lost.

Break the Cycle

To lose weight and keep it off, you must break the cycle of chronic dieting and focus on making healthy lifestyle choices. Losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your current weight can lead to health benefits, so it is important to try to maintain any weight loss. Restricting caloric intake too much can cause your metabolism to slow down, which hinders weight-loss efforts. Starving the body causes metabolism to slow, as the body tries to conserve energy. The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating five to six small meals a day, with one of those meals consisting of a fiber-rich breakfast. Starting the day off right and eating healthy foods throughout the day will actually boost metabolism and aid weight-loss efforts.

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