The worst thing you can do for your body and your general health is to diet.
New Year’s resolutions are still in full swing a month into 2016, especially those goals concerning weight and fitness.
Dieting has many different connotations, but most people diet to lose weight. People should focus on simply eating healthier rather than going on restrictive diets.
Not only is it less work not to diet, but it’s also better for your body. There are some medical reasons to diet, but I will only be addressing diets in which weight loss is the desired outcome.
Many women and men, some of which are my friends, restrict their calorie intake to almost dangerous amounts, around 1,000 calories per day, in order to get a six-pack or to vanquish a muffin top. I am not foreign to the feeling of not loving your body which is, a common feeling that most people have felt at one time or another.
Dieting driven by the desire to lose weight can be dangerous. Dieting can turn into an eating disorder without you even realizing it is a problem.
Cassey Ho, owner of a fitness YouTube channel called blogilates, has experience with this problem.
She recently made a video in which she explains how preparation for a bikini competition turned into a type of eating disorder.
She said she only ate 1,000 calories a day and had a list of fewer than 10 things she was allowed to eat in order to lose enough weight.
Not only was this diet boring and restrictive, she said it made her feel foggy and cranky.
This kind of dieting and several hours a day at the gym gave her the lean, defined muscles, but it is a unhealthy way to go about the process.
According to the FDA, the average person needs 2,000 – 2,7000 calories a day. So cutting calories severely isn’t sustainable in the long term.
Once your body is used to such limited food and calorie intake, such as the 1,000 calories diet done by bikini contest competitors, adding anything else can be uncomfortable to digest.
Ho said when she went off the competition diet, she started gaining weight drastically and was afraid to eat even fruits that hadn’t been part of the diet.
In order to be healthy and happy, you shouldn’t diet; you should just focus on eating healthy or clean.
By eating clean, I mean eating fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods. Processed foods are anything that’s been through a factory.
Cutting out junk food is another example of eating clean.
Modern marketing, especially directed toward women, often pushes the idea of losing weight rather than getting strong and remaining healthy.
You can lose weight by eating healthy and working out.
Not getting enough food or not enough of the right food can also affect your mood. For example, I have noticed that many people who are tired all the time need more of these green vegetables, and iceberg lettuce doesn’t count, because of its low nutritional value.
Cut out things like soda, extra sugars and fats from fast food. These small things will help you lose weight without doing any extreme dieting. These things don’t offer your body many nutrients.
One of the secrets to being healthy is doing more, not eating less.
Eat more green vegetables; like spinach, since it has more vitamins than say an iceberg lettuce salad. The high fiber in many green vegetables, along with the many minerals and vitamins, helps your body maintain a higher level of health, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Workout and go to the gym regularly but not excessively. Ho said she went to the gym four hours a day and did two hours of cardio at home, pointing it out as a good example of excessive exercising.
However, going to the gym a few times a week or even an hour every day isn’t too excessive, as the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes per day, five times a week.
Everyone should be comfortable with their bodies and be able to love them the way they are. There are better ways to be healthy and fit to achieve the body you want than dieting and calorie restricting.
By eating healthy and simply being aware of the things you’re putting in your body, you can begin to look the way you want, become stronger, and feel better about yourself and in your daily life.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.