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Have you ever wanted to lose weight soo badly that you ‘went on a diet’? I wouldn’t blame you if you have; most people have. Even as I type the word “diets” into google, the first recommended phrase to search is “diets to lose weight”, and third is “diets that work fast”!
Losing weight and ‘dieting’ are so ingrained in our culture that some people only think of losing weight when they think of the word diet. But, the true definition of diet is about what we regularly eat, not what we eat to lose weight!
Everyone is always looking for that quick fix; especially when it comes to losing weight (and especially when it comes time for summer). But how many people are actually thinking about the consequences of the quick fix?
Probably not many, if I were to guess.
Why do people make themselves suffer on ‘diets’?
Too many people (and by that, I mean at least 1 person), believe that losing weight is the be all/end all in their lives. They’re too worried about losing weight and what they think they will feel like if they do. Some people think that if they could just lose some weight that they’ll be happy; regardless of how that weight was lost.
But, being thin due to unhealthy habits is not going to make anyone happy. It may change their attitude and make them grouchy, but not happy; since food has an affect on emotions and neurotransmitters.
Fortunately, it seems as if quick weight loss and fad diets may be going out of style! FINALLY!
I mean, they are still relevant and the focus of many people’s lives. But, I have high hopes that my generation and the generations to come don’t have the quick fix mindset. For example, 4 to 5 years ago the same google search would have resulted in more recommended searches about losing weight fast. The example I gave before was the only recommended searches that concerned losing weight fast that popped up.
And, to show why I’m so hopeful for my generation; when I type in “millennials diet” the first thing that pops up is “millennials and a plant-based diet, better food, better choices”. So, something we’re doing must be right!
Fad Diets (hopefully of the past!)
My nutrition professor warned us about these in college.
Fad diets are not something you want to mess around with. They’re called fads for a reason, and I’m thankful for that. But, some have seemed to stick around longer than should and have even made it onto the little nutrition sparkcharts sheets that I still have from college.
If you don’t know what a fad diet is then you are probably very young, or have been hiding under a rock. Fad diets are simply diets that promise quick weight loss without exercise and without a balanced diet; they can be detrimental to your health and ‘experts’ are advising against them. And, honestly, if you lose weight too quickly, you ought to know that’s not good for you.
Many people who go on fad diets are also usually yo-yo dieters; they jump from diet to diet in hopes of losing the weight they gained from stopping the last diet they tried. You can’t stick with a fad diet forever, they aren’t meant to be a lifestyle change, simply a ‘quick fix’. And, people who try them usually end up gaining back even more weight than they had lost; so, these ‘diets’ actually do the opposite of what they promise to do.
Is this any way to live or lose weight; being so fearful trying to lose weight and look good that we ignore the science and facts that it won’t stay off or be healthy?
Unfortunately, some fad diets are so popular people may actually think they ‘work’, and therefore use them to lose weight quickly. Like the atkins diet which is a very unbalanced diet focused on consuming a lot of protein and very little carbs. Personally, even if I didn’t know this was bad for my health, would not be able to go on this diet. I like my bread and pasta too much! But, for this diet, weight gain after quitting the diet may not be the only bad side effect; too much protein is really bad for our kidneys. And, we kind of need our kidneys, so let’s not make their job any harder than it already is.
[clickToTweet tweet=”“Fad Diets- Don’t let them destroy you; your health, physically or mentally. Don’t go down that road; you won’t like what you find.”” quote=”“Fad Diets- Don’t let them destroy you; your health, physically or mentally. Don’t go down that road; you won’t like what you find.””]
Other fad diets
The atkins diet is probably one of the most familiar fad diets there are. But, other fad diets, not so popular ones, are also destroying our health and well being. So, let’s not forget about those; or maybe we should forget about those and just focus on eating healthy foods and enough of them. (And maybe some dark chocolate in moderation, too.)
Maybe it’s just my way of thinking, but ever since I started weighing more than 120 pounds I never tried to lose weight through a fad diet. I wanted long term results (and to be healthy) and I guess (even before taking courses on food) on a subconscious level, I knew that quick fixes weren’t the way to go.
It’s still entertaining to look up fad diets and see what people do to lose weight. But, then again it’s sad that people don’t have the knowledge to know better and not aim for quick and temporary results; or that they ignore the facts because their desire to lose weight is too strong.
Other, less common, diets include slimfast (because drinking chemicals for more than half your meals in the day is the way to go…*sarcasm*), the grape fruit diet (at least you don’t have to think about what to eat), and other weird diets where you restrict certain food groups and put emphasis on others (or emphasis on an individual food, or chemical food product).
The results of “diets”
The point to this post is that I don’t want you to harm yourself or your body to lose weight or “look good”. There is no ‘quick fix’ for being happy or healthy or thin. If you think you’ll automatically be happy when you’re thin because you’re thin, then you’re in for a big surprise. This is especially true if you get that way in an unhealthy way.
I’m going to let you in on a little known secret (that has actually been known since Hippocrates said it); food is the best medicine. This is not only true for physical ailments, but also mental. So, if you eat poorly and unbalanced you’re going to feel poorly and unbalanced, too. And, not to sound too much like a millennial (I am one by the way), but eating a balanced plant based diet is probably the best way to go!
The best result of a fad diet would be gaining back the weight you lost; the worst is health complications you have to live with for the rest of your life. I don’t care if your best friend told you that a specific diet works fast and is fool-proof. You need to look into it yourself to be sure. If it’s restrictive or tells you to consume non-food or food-like products, or puts far too much emphasis on a single nutrient (which at the time may not seem like it because you’re in the honey moon stage of dieting); then it’s probably not all that good for you.
They even warn us to seek doctors permission…
And I know, just as well as you do, that diet companies tell you to speak with your physician before you start any weight loss or exercise program. They only say that to save their own butts. This way, if you end up with health complications through following their diet or consuming their products, they can point their finger at you.
Because, let’s get real here, do you really do ask your doctors permission to go on a diet? And, does you physician really have enough training in nutrition to determine what is best for you? Possibly, but possibly not; unless you see an actual dietitian, or if your doctor cares about nutrition enough to take more than the minimum training on it.
If you do actually speak with them, like you are ‘supposed to’ do, then good for you; but either way you are responsible for what goes into your body. Whether it’s the healthiest food in the world that will bring you to optimal health; or something completely made of chemicals and produced in a factory. You are the one who determines what you eat and drink.
Plus, you could be told a thousand times what you should and shouldn’t eat. But, that doesn’t mean you’re going to listen.
“Diet” in the eyes of a millennial
Being as how I would be considered a millennial, myself, since I’m only 26; I feel as if us millennial’s are eating better for our health than other generations, or at least trying to. And, no, I don’t own a home, and yes, I do have student debt. Oh, how some of the cliches of being a millennial do ring true. But, I am not lazy, far from it, just like others in my generation. We work hard! Whether other generations believe it or not! I could go on and on about this issue, but for your sake, I won’t.
But, to get back to the term “diet”, we (or at least those of us with any education in nutrition whatsoever) consider the term to simply mean ‘the food we consume on a regular basis’. No more, no less. It’s pretty simple, really. If it doesn’t seem simple then think of it as if we were in a zoo; what would we be fed to stay healthy and alive? I know, that example may be used too often, but it may also be the simplest way of understanding what the word diet really means.
To the Future… with the Word ‘Diet’
I’m hoping the real meaning of ‘diet’ catches on; at least, more so than it already has.
I know I’m raising my girls to know the correct meaning of the word. And, I’m sure many other millennials will raise their children the same way. We don’t want our children to worry about their weight, just their health and well being.
I’m not able to predict the future; but I’m hoping that my generation is well versed enough in nutrition and how to eat well; to have obesity rates decrease and the ‘diet’ subculture decrease or come to a halt.
I know I’m raising informed little girls who prefer avocados over cookies.
Are you teaching your kids about nutrition?
Whether you know it or not, you’re teaching your children about food, simply by giving them the food that you do, or how you talk about it. They trust you and believe that what you give them to eat is what they should be eating. So, please, let it be something good for them; that will truly nourish them and not just something easy and packaged and chemical, because that’s easier.
Let our generation be the one to steer our health, and the health of future generations, in the right direction!
What are your thoughts on this topic? Please share in the comments
If this post makes you feel like you’re behind on eating well and feel discouraged about your eating habits, I apologize, try reading No one is Born Knowing How to Eat Healthy! instead.
More to come!