Why is it so hard to cut calories?

Uh oh – Overate all weekend.

Weight and Obesity - Treatment - St. Louis, MOWhy is it so hard to cut calories? Here’s what happens when you try:

7:00 a.m. Great breakfast! Raspberries, yogurt, coffee.

11:00 a.m. Isn’t is lunch time yet? I’m starving, but I don’t want to overdo. Maybe I’ll have a salad.

3:00 p.m. I’m never going to make it until dinner! What can I scrounge up? Is there anything in my desk? Can I sneak down to the machines and try to act normal while I get a Snickers?

6:00 p.m. Phew! Dinner time! I’ve been good all day. Now I can have a decent meal.

10:00 p.m. Let’s see…popcorn…load on the parmesan cheese…more wine…Honey Nut Cheerios…What else do I have that I can eat before I go to bed?

I’ve done it again. I am so ashamed of myself. I have no self control. I must stop doing this! I’ll cut back more tomorrow.


Trying hard to cut calories

Our bodies are not made to starve. Thousands of years of evolution have led to defense mechanisms that shut down our metabolism when food is scarce.  So we try to starve ourselves, and our bodies fight back!

OK, let’s be sensible about this and go to a well-known diet program that cuts back slowly. We do great for about 3 months.

Then something kicks in. How is it that I could do so well on this diet and suddenly blow it all off and start regaining weight?


I don’t wanna cut back!

It’s that little kid in us who takes over. “Yeah? You think you can starve me? Well, 3 months is enough!”

If we are used to using food to self-soothe, cutting back is a huge fantasy that will eventually backfire. We may end up eating even more than ever before, and gaining more weight than ever!

Not only that, our bodies are going to be busy stocking up on the lost fat – lost energy. Fat is the body’s storehouse of energy that it is saving up for hard times.


So is dieting doomed? Will I never lose weight?

Science doesn’t tell us much about losing weight and keeping it off. You certainly won’t lose weight if you are fighting nature and if you need food to stay calm and at peace.

There is no substitute for getting the facts! My favorite book about weight loss and what we can realistically expect is:

Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave Out, Get Wrong, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight

By Linda Bacon, PhD, & Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD

After you read this, you may feel sad and discouraged about losing your dream of the perfect, thin, youthful body.

But you will also feel empowered! You will have a new game plan. You will learn how to respect and care for your body, while feeding your physical and emotional hungers. You will consider exercise, dressing well, and telling other people to mind their own business. You will stop being controlled by your inner child, who is constantly being lectured by your inner parent. You will feel a sense of freedom and power that will lead you down a new path toward self-care.

Whether or not you ever lose weight, developing love and respect for yourself, your body, your feelings, and your self-worth will pay off in the long run. It can’t hurt to start by stopping the weight gain. You can do that through mindful eating and through paying attention to your emotions. Emotions tell you a lot about what you really need.


Don’t forget: Recovery is Possible!


Email Me or Call Me at (314) 446-2899 for a Free Phone Consultation.

We will talk about your situation and how I can help.

By |2017-01-23T21:32:01+00:00June 21st, 2016|Calorie Cutting, Weight Loss|Comments Off on Why is it so hard to cut calories?

About the Author:

I am a psychotherapist specializing full-time in the treatment of eating disorders in Saint Louis, Missouri. My private practice is a warm, supportive, personal alternative to large treatment centers. My approach is to start with a careful evaluation and to respect that struggling with an eating disorder is an individual's attempt to cope. Together, we explore the meaning of the symptoms and work on finding healthier, more effective ways of handling stress, emotional pain, and relationship problems. Treatment options include individual, family, and group therapy. For professionals, I offer consultation and training. For the public, I offer workshops and public speaking tailored to the needs of your organization. I am committed to the Health at Every Size philosophy, and to promoting the equality of all human beings.
Kylie Dennis, PhD, LCSW

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