“I’m going on a diet.”
A phrase becoming increasingly more common in our society; due to the increase of social body negativity. In 2010, 54% of adults said that they were currently on a diet. That’s the most since survey results were first taken in 1986. Diet fads have gradually increased with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram; which studies have shown affect people’s self-esteem and body perception. Diet fads may appear to be the quick-and-easy solution to losing unwanted weight, however, these fads have not only a low success rate, but also unforeseen consequences to a person’s body. An article from The New York Times, entitled Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet, points out this astonishing figure: “After about five years, 41 percent of dieters gain back more weight than they lost. Long-term studies show dieters are more likely than non-dieters to become obese over the next one to 15 years. That’s true in men and women, across ethnic groups, from childhood through middle age.” According to http://healthresearchfunding.org/23-exceptional-fad-diet-statistics/, the average American adult tries to implement a fad diet 4 times per year and within two weeks, 25% of Americans will give up on their weight loss goals. Fad diets are followed because they seem to work and work fast. The truth is that any diet can help someone lose weight and it can be dangerous to lose a lot of weight quickly.
My personal experience with dieting, as a general area, is a lengthy and tedious one. It all began when I was younger, I was considered overweight. I heard it everywhere: from your friendly neighborhood doctor’s to hushed whispers down the school hallways. Hearing the word ‘fat’ always had a shaming effect on me; and it certainly caused my mother to be ashamed of me. She would often chastise me about my weight in public or at home, not caring who heard how she tore my self-esteem down. I can honestly remember crying myself to sleep some nights because I hated that my mother was ashamed by my looks yet I was finding it nearly impossible to stop emotional eating. The stress about my body, coupled with the bullying I received and my depression, lead me to succumb to more emotional eating. I couldn’t help myself as I fell deeper into a downward spiral of loathing. I would try to force myself on diets, work out hard, and try the latest fitness fads I read in lobby room magazines. Nothing seemed to work. In fact, all my efforts only actively worked against my goal of achieving a “better” body. I was astounded by my inability to follow through with the seemingly simplistic plans that I aligned for myself. It wasn’t until the last 3 years or so, that I realized the way I was going about my weight. I stopped worrying over the crazy diets I was forcing upon myself; instead eating the foods I wanted in smaller portions. I chose workouts that I enjoyed rather than ones that would show the quickest results but make me miserable. After these changes, I began to see the changes that I was searching for and I was doing it my way.
My advice on this topic is relatively simple and broken up into two parts: the purely physical and the mental changes. The first thing I would advise is to start a relatively healthy diet, not completely cutting out anything “unhealthy”. Have everything and anything in moderation, because forcing yourself away from certain foods works against you just like overeating. Portion control and the numbers of meal per day is everything when it comes to managing your weight and dieting. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day does wonders for managing your cravings and keeping weight, because you are less hungry due to the frequent meals while the smaller portions are measuring the number of calories you’re intaking. I would try to discover exercises that you would enjoy doing, because you won’t follow through with your workout plan if you are miserable. I would advise that you evaluate your feelings towards your body before pursuing a fitness regimen. Do it for yourself, not for anyone else or anyone else’s feelings.
Harboring desire to change the way you look is not an uncommon feeling nor is it wrong for you to feel that way. But if you decide to follow through with changing the way your body looks; you should be careful about how you try to go about it. A healthy body is attainable, easier than you think. Extreme diets and exercise aren’t the path to go. With mostly heathy dieting and moderate exercise, you can stay in shape the right way.