One of the ideas that has been popping around my head lately is the idea of relapse rates in dieting. We have all heard that a high percentage of people who go on diets end up failing – especially in the long term. Hell if this wasn’t the case why would we be blogging right here right now. But why does this happen?
People who have never dieted tend to believe it is a lack of willpower. To a certain degree I guess they are right. But perhaps the high failure rate is not because of willpower but more because its an addiction. So I thought why not do a little bit of background work and look at the statistics for relapse rates for different addictions. Below is a list of relapse rates ranked from highest to lowest with the number representing the percentage of people who try to give up that addiction and then fail. I consider a diet an attempt to break food addiction.
Smoking – 90%
Heroin – 82%
Im not trying to start a war of ‘my addiction is worse than yours’ here. There are obviously a lot of factors at play here. But what I want to highlight is the fact that relapse rates are similar for all addictions including dieting. I don’t think this is a coincidence! Is it that surprising that so many dieters fail when you look at it in the light of addiction?
So here I am sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, and watching lots of stuff on the internet. Fifa world cup, Doctor Who and a whole bunch of other geeky stuff. The reason is that I am bored out of my brains. I decided when I started this that I was going to be really strict on myself. So I wont eat tasty delicious junk food, and I won’t let myself have a little bit of alcohol either. At this stage I don’t trust myself. But a consequence of these rules is I have locked myself into a prison of boredom. I can’t go out socialising because that would mean either having eating temptation or alcohol temptation. Arggghhh. When your in a new country and hardly know anyone this kind of sucks.
I think one of the biggest problems with giving up any kind of addiction is the boredom. Once upon a time I could escape this by eating something. Even if it was just for five minutes it was nice to have a break from my head. Now that five minute relief break is gone. But I think thats the point. I think that a large part of addiction revolves around the ‘addict’ wanting to escape from reality. So when you have to face it it can get draining and tough. Now that I have come this far I really need to start thinking of other things I can do that doesn’t involve going out and eating or drinking. Something that is healthy and good for me. Yes like exercise! Because at the moment Im spending a lot of time on the internet and I don’t want that to become a new form of escape.
Lunch: Half Roast Chicken, Cabbage Stew
Dinner: Half Roast Chicken, Cabbage Stew
Fat 49% (Sat 12%, Poly 11%, Mono 26%).
Carbohydrates 18% (132g)