To proclaim dieting/dietary restriction as "dangerous" in this calorie conscious, weight obsessed culture currently engaged in a "war on obesity" is certainly going against the grain (to say the least). Not everyone who drives their weight down by restricting their diet only to see it rebound develops diabetes. Tom Hanks, as well as many medical professionals, believes that the huge weight fluctuations he has experienced in preparing for various movie roles might have contributed to his recent Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. He lost over 50 pounds for his role in "Castaway" and had to force his weight up over 30 pounds for "A League of Their Own." Medical research demonstrates a connection between eating disorders and the development of insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) or Type 2 diabetes. Weight fluctuations, frequent swings in eating behaviors (restrict-binge cycles) confuse both body and mind. Think about what the pancreas goes through when abruptly awakened from starvation slumber and thrown into overeating overdrive! In my practice it is not uncommon to see my eating disorder clients in various stages of recovery have blood sugar irregularities. One more reason not to diet!
No, not everyone who diets and experiences weight fluctuations will get diabetes. They might get an eating disorder instead. Some of you may remember the actor Dennis Quaid admitting to struggling with anorexia nervosa. They called it "manorexia" back at that time. We had not been enlightened as to the prevalence of eating disorders among males. There was hesitation and shame to call it what it was ... anorexia nervosa. He lost over 40 pounds to play Doc Holiday in the movie "Wyatt Earp". It took him several years to recover from the aftermath of starvation.
Let's learn some lessons about the possible consequences of dieting. Please join me in sharing lessons learned.