Two thirds of British adults are on a diet. That is almost 35 million adults investing energy and stress in what they eat. Feeling guilty when they ‘slip up’ and spending time weighing themselves and focusing on the weight.
And oh, are there a multitude of diets and eating techniques. From the now almost old-fashioned counting of calories, here’s looking at you Weight Watchers, then there’s Keto, shun the carbohydrates, shun them. There’s Paleo (Palaeolithic diet), where we have to eat like our ancient ancestors, presuming that is, that our ancestors had access to quinoa and coconut all at the same time. And then there is everything in between.
In a health-obsessed world, one that has been encouraged by the arrival of fitness coaches, social media influencers and greater access to gym facilities we don’t even need to be dieting for weight reasons. Now we go on fancy diets because it’s better for our immune system or mood, you name it, there is a purpose and a result, or so it is claimed.
With rising numbers of cases of orthorexia, an eating disorder concerned with obsessively consuming healthy foods to points of extreme control and concern, we have started to come to terms with the fact that fitness and ‘healthy-focused’ diets can be equally damaging.
This obsession with our dietary habits affects every part of our lives. For some reason we feel the need to excuse ourselves for eating a full plate of pasta. We constantly suggest that we ‘might give, intermittent fasting a go.’ And we refuse the offer of cake with the excuse that we are ‘trying to be good,’ because apparently eating cake isn’t good behaviour.
Being hungry, a sure sign from our body that we need to eat, is instead a sign that we are doing well and exercising self-control.
But there is a group of fitness influencers who have started to rebel actively against this diet culture. With their own radical new diet; eating until you are full. It doesn’t sound radical, and it really shouldn’t be radical. But apparently, we have come to a point in society were simply eating to full satiety is rebellious.
Health influencer and YouTuber Dr Stephanie Buttermore is one of the people leading this movement. She runs a YouTube channel, previously used to document her diet and workout routines and now uses it to discuss her experience with the ’All in Approach’ to dieting. Buttermore has a PhD in pathology and cell biology and takes a scientific approach to this new diet.
The approach is based on the theory that when you follow your natural hunger cues, eating when you are hungry and eating until you are full, you will learn to listen to and feed your body what it needs. The idea is similar to intuitive eating, a model that encourages us to listen to our body, to eat when we want to eat but also to train ourselves to listen to the kind of foods our body might be asking for.
The ‘All in” theory stems from the hypothesis that our bodies all have an individual set weight. A weight at which it is most comfortable and healthy and so listening to our body will help us not only to improve our relationship with food but will allow our bodies to stabilise at their natural weight.
In a video exploring the science behind this new diet Buttermore said, “…your set weight has been genetically predetermined and when your body drifts away from this set weight, your body sends signals to defend this weight.”
While Buttermore has experienced more weight gain than anticipated during this process, she does not believe that it will always be there. She states that though she was initially eating up to 5,000 calories a day when she first started the diet, she has found that three months into the process, her appetite has lessened, and she can no longer eat as much as she could previously. Her weight has currently plateaued but Buttermore is confident that she will eventually start losing weight. She expects it will take at least a year to see the results of the process.
The point is not to return to the weight she was before she gave up the calorie limiting dieting, but to remain happily and comfortably at the new weight best suited to her body.
Kayla Rose is the author of ‘Damn the Diets’. The former fitness model is further along in her ‘All-in’ journey and the lead figure in the world. She has lived through what Buttermore is hoping to achieve and found that while at first, she gained a lot of weight, eventually it plateaued and then decreased placing her weight at a happy medium where she learnt to feel comfortable.
The ‘All in’ theory is mostly recommended for anyone currently experiencing calorific deficiency due to restrictive dieting.
For those not coming from that place, at least it serves as a reminder to “Damn the Diets” anyway, and not to attempt to join them in the first place.