One of the key research findings in my new book, The Boomer Generation Diet, is that stress actually causes weight gain. We have all tried and failed at dieting. One major reason is that denial based diets create a tremendous amount of stress. Going hungry just does not succeed in achieving sustained weight. Diets do not work because they inhibit our ability to have fun. We lose social time with friends who do not want to participate in a diet. Diets do not work because it is stressful to try to eat and live under some type of formula. Who wants live under performance metrics on what we eat and how much we can eat?
How stress causes weight gain
There are three reasons why we gain weight from stress:
- Cortisol. This is called the stress hormone. Guess what it does. It signals the body to eat food. We get stressed, cortisol is generated, and we head for the cookies!
- Anxiety. We get anxious worrying about the kids or tomorrow’s job interview. This triggers “emotional eating” as a mechanism for calming down. It works, we feel calmer. But it also adds pounds.
- Lack of sleep. Sleep depravation is what they put special forces candidates through to evaluate their candidacy. A lack of sleep, or poor sleep, stresses our bodies and weakens our will power. Research has found that people on diets that were deprived of sleep lost less weight.
The recipe for dieting stress
The diets we have tried and failed with typically have two stressful elements. One is denial. The other is the stress that comes from denial plus trying to reshape our lives around our diet. This is the recipe for diet stress. None of us are built this way. We live to live! Counterintuitively to all we have heard about dieting, the diets that work make us feel better about ourself. They reduce stress. They enable living more!
Diets that change who we are generate stress and weight
I admire the Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet and similar nutrition-based diets. These diets are typically founded on good science. Following these diets can result in reduced weight and improved health.
But the question is whether these diets deliver sustained weight loss. The answer is whether you and I are willing to live like a caveman or someone living in Greece? Most of us do not want to live this way. Remember, caveman did not have Happy Hour. I do not think Greeks love chocolate chip cookies as much as most of us.
So living on one of these diets is another form of denial. Denial is stressful. Stress results in weight gain. And that is why when we try these diets we have some initial success and then…well you know the result…we gain back the weight we lost.
How weighting ourselves causes us to gain weight
For the dedicated dieters among us this next recommendation will sound crazy. The recommendation is to stop weighting yourself. Look, if weighting ourselves produced weight loss I would be the bald Ryan Gosling.
How could weighting ourselves impact our weight? The answer is that getting on that scale is stressful. If the results are not what we expect we get frustrated. We get anxious. And that leads to weight gain.
The path to dieting that works is to adopt best practices customized around who you are and who you want to be. What works for achieving sustained weight loss is to fashion your life around best practices that help you lose weight, have fun and live more+!
About the author
Bill Roth is the author of The Boomer Generation Diet, now on sale at Amazon! Here’s what Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief of Triple Pundit says about the book: ”Written in Bill Roth’s lovable, relatable tone. The Boomer Generation Diet is a must-read for any Boomer who is looking to jumpstart their health and have fun at the same time. I hope my parents read it!” Follow Bill on Twitter and Facebook.