Dieting backlash is the counter-reaction to food restriction, aka dieting.
Things like “food cravings,” urges to eat the restricted foods, nighttime eating, “overeating,” binging, weight regain, depression, anxiety… that’s all dieting backlash, also known as rebound eating.
Dieting backlash & rebound eating are well known & studied phenomenon within the field of the non-diet approach but almost unknown in society at large.
It’s almost like a dark secret tucked away… and for a good reason. If diet culture and weight loss gurus had to declare the inclusion of diet backlash as part of their program, a vast majority of women wouldn’t sign up for the program in the first place.
Dieting backlash food behaviors are 100% normal and expected. That’s the phenomenon explaining the statistics that 91% of dieters regain their weight loss within 1-5 years post diets.
Here are a few examples of thoughts your brain may be offering you as a result of diet backlash or rebound eating:
- “I’ve been so bad today… since I’ve blown the day, so may as well enjoy?” “I can’t believe I had carbs at breakfast and lunch. I’m only supposed to eat carb only once a day, so might as well enjoy today and be good tomorrow.”
- “I weigh so much I don’t deserve to eat anything. Clearly I have no willpower over food, so might as well overeat.”
Diet backlash, rebound eating & emotional eating are all intertwined
Here’s where it gets interesting… women who deliberately restrict their food intake when under a diet are more likely to overeat, especially in response to an emotional state. What we think as emotional eating may actually be diet backlash or rebound eating.
In a subconscious way, we give ourselves license to eat foods that are normally forbidden, and we use emotion as a way to give ourselves permission in the hope to lower the guilt of “not following the diet,” we lay the blame on emotional eating.
We use our emotions as a way to give ourselves permission to eat the restricted & “bad food.”
These thoughts are what create the feeling of frustration, resentment, low self-esteem and many other unproductive emotions that lead to behaviors of coping, numbing and other componentry food behaviors like binging.
We create these emotions that we later want to numb with food.
It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy of dieting. Nothing has gone wrong. Nothing is wrong with you… it’s biology.
Here’s what I propose…
To reflect on these 4 questions:
- How much of what we self-describe as a “problematic relationship to food” is, in fact, due to our own self-imposed diet or food restriction
- How much of the food behaviors we hope to fix with our newest “food lifestyle” are made worse by the actual “food lifestyle”?
- What if there was nothing wrong with our food behaviors, that our body was reacting exactly how it was created to react in the face of food restriction… then what?
- What if the problem wasn’t us, the dieter but the diet… then what?
I’m proposing these questions to you because I’m not here to tell you what you should do… but instead to give you a choice.
What you’ll learn listening to this episode on dieting backlash:
- What is dieting backlash
- How dieting backlash presents itself in women’s life
- Why rebound eating is normal
- How we create the situation to produce emotional eating