Health & Fitness

My Thoughts on Diets

{P.S.A. before you read – I am in no way a nutrition expert. This is just my opinion on the matter from what I’ve experienced. Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments; I am curious to hear!}

I’d consider myself a pretty health-conscious person, but recently I was imagining what it’d be like if, one day, I fell off of the rails. And when thinking about it, I was sure of one thing: I would not go on a diet to get back into my groove. I do not like diets and never plan on going on one.

And here’s why…

Dieting is, more often than not, ineffective. Dieting forces people to transition their eating habits from one extreme to another very rapidly. For example, if you were to eat fast food 3+ times a week, drink many sugary drinks, & eat fatty foods and desserts often, it would be very hard to switch right over to a low-carb diet. Changing up the norm so drastically can lead to a feeling of hopelessness and discourage people from moving forward. This mindset is detrimental because it causes people to resent a healthy lifestyle rather than embrace it. They feel as though there is no chance of being successful because diets are just too extreme of a transition. And that leads me to my next point…

After a diet, there is a good chance of going back to an unhealthy diet. The point of going on a diet is to jumpstart weight loss so that once it is over, one can maintain it with a healthy diet. Studies show, though, that 97 percent of people who go on diets regain all lost weight, if not more, within three years of dieting (source: slate.com). This is because dieting is a shock to your system. Once a diet is over, it is hard to not give in to the temptations of an unhealthy diet. “Cheat Days” become a common occurrence and the focus is completely lost. Because dieting gets so extreme, people tend to count down the days till the end of the diet and eventually go back to old habits, not having gained the will power needed to lead a healthy life. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, but I’ve seen it happen too many times.

Dieting can be expensive. Programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers may have statistics on their effectiveness, but they come at a cost. Jenny Craig can run you up to around $700/month, while weight watchers can vary depending on how involved you want to get. These diets require a large financial commitment and can come as a burden to many households. Also, an all-organic diet, a gluten-free diet, and a vegan diet all cost much more than the average grocery bill for someone who regularly eats processed foods. Many people can not afford to maintain such diets for long periods of time.

Diets can actually be unhealthy. If you do choose to go on a diet, it is wise to educate yourself before doing anything extreme. Diets like fasting, only drinking juices, or eliminating all carbs come with risks and need to be looked into before jumping the gun. Even diets that aren’t that extreme should be looked into just as a precaution. Going into something of the sort without educating yourself is never a good idea.

Why are over 2/3 of American adults overweight or obese if we have a countless amount of diets for people to choose from?

That is my biggest point (hence why it’s in the biggest font). If diet plans are so plentiful, why aren’t they working? There is a major flaw in the system. A diet is only effective if the participant is truly willing to make a change in the way they go about their lives. An importance must be placed on healthy eating and exercise.

My solution is simple, yet needs to be taken seriously: take time to develop a lifestyle change. 

The transition to a healthy lifestyle does take time, but it is definitely worth it. Gaining will power can be done by small acts. I keep a journal of what I eat everyday, and I log my workouts along with it. Holding yourself accountable to getting enough nutrients is essential. Also, a pro tip I have learned is that a healthy diet starts at the grocery store, not in the kitchen (source: Ashleigh Varney). Avoiding the aisles with unhealthy food means that your kitchen won’t have unhealthy foods. Don’t give yourself the option to eat unhealthily, and you won’t do it! Eating healthy is a choice, and you have to put your all into it. But the transition to a healthy lifestyle can happen; you just have to work at it little by little and not go to any extremes.

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