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Chronic Dieting
Adapted From Dieting For Dummies; by Jane Kirby For The American Dietetic Association.

If you are a chronic dieter, you may be at risk of developing the same psychological characteristics of people who are starving: a tendency to eat excessively once you are "allowed" to eat, to become overly emotional, to have trouble concentrating, and to obsess about food and eating. How you answer the following question is a good indication of whether you're dieting too much: What would you do if the scale showed an extra 5 pounds?

If you're a dieter, you'd probably overeat. That's what researchers at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada found when they weighed dieters and non-dieters and told them that they weighed 5 pounds heavier or 5 pounds lighter than their actual weights (see the Journal of Abnormal Psychology 107, 1998). Dieters who believed that they were heavier experienced lowered self-worth and a worsening of mood that led them to relinquish their dietary restraint and overindulge in available food. Non-dieters and dieters who were told that they weighed 5 pounds less were not affected by the false weight feedback.

The bottom line:

To get over overeating, you need to start listening to your body. As simple as it sounds, it's the only way to change your habits once and for all. If you're hungry, eat. When you're full, stop. Remembering these two simple rules puts you on the road to healthy eating for the rest of your life.


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