In the past I have been a traditional dieter, counting calories, eating low fat foods and diet meals and ending up in the diet/binge cycle. Luckily I have never had what I considered an 'eating disorder' but my eating could be considered disordered as it wasn't consistent and I was ignoring basic signals such as hunger and satiety.
For the last two years I have been eating a mainly paleo 'caveman' style diet which is naturally high in good fat and low in carbohydrate and amongst many other health benefits I have found it easy to maintain a weight I feel happy with without constant hunger and cravings. So how does this happen?
Five reasons a paleo style diet can work better than a traditional low fat high carb diet:
1. Fat and protein fill you up for longer than carbohydrates so you don't feel as hungry in between meals.
2. Carbohydrates (especially processed carbohydrates such as cakes, biscuits) cause insulin to be released from the pancreas to 'mop up' the glucose in the food and send it into the cells of the body for energy to brings your blood sugar levels down. If you are on a see saw of eating a lot of processed carbs regularly your blood sugar levels will be unstable causing hunger and cravings for more carbohydrates making it much more difficult to stick with a diet.
3. The hunger and deprivation caused by dieting causes psychological problems such as binging which has an impact on self esteem - who hasn't thought "I'm useless because I can't stick with this diet".
4. When you restrict calories you will lose weight at first but your body will compensate by slowing your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn food) making it more and more difficult to lose weight on less and less calories.
5. Low calorie dieting can cause nutritional deficiencies, especially when a lot of low fat processed diet meals are being consumed.The body then craves more food in the hope of making up the nutritional deficiency.
Be aware that you may not notice any changes on the scales when you eat a higher fat and protein, lower carbohydrate diet but you should notice it in your clothes especially around the middle where you would normally store excess weight. Find a pair of jeans you want to get back into and keep trying them on! You will notice a difference.